Jim Klopman – Improving Your Balance and Performance – Podcast #152

Dr. Justin Marchegiani welcomes Jim Klopman, the founder of Slack Bow, in today’s podcast. Listen as Jim shares some interesting and exciting information about his product, the slack bow. Learn the inspiration behind this product and discover how to greatly improve your balance by using it.

Know about the types of movement, the muscles and the exercises involved in using a slack bow. Understand why this product is very effective in improving balance and performance athletically.

 In this episode, we cover: Jim Klopman

 3:45   Inspiration behind slack line

15:12   Diet’s connection to Balance

18:36   Portable Neurostimulator

33:12   Top three movements on a slack bow

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 Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey there! It’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani. Welcome back to Beyond wellness radio. We have Jim Klopman here who is the founder of the Slack Bow.  Really excited to uh— interview him today. We’re gonna be talking about exercise and balance and how that can help improve your performance in your brain in general. Jim, welcome to the show.

Jim Klopman:  Thank you. I’m really happy to be here. I really appreciate it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Excellent. Well tell me a little bit more about yourself, and kind of your journey and how you gotten up to this point today.

Jim Klopman: Well at age 50, I wanted some—I ski well. I was skiing since I was 3. And I wanted to ski well in my 70s and 80s and I was trying to figure how to do that. I saw a lot of guys stop skiing or not ski as well. I knew I couldn’t be skilled coz I’m way_

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: And I didn’t think it’d be a strength coz you know, I’m 64.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Jim Klopman: I’m as strong today as I was when I was 30 so fitness stays awesome. Health because of guys like you is awesome, so. What was the missing factor? And I determined, I think at the time that it was balance. So I looked into the industry for some balance training. There wasn’t anything that really was a challenge to me.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Jim Klopman: So I created some of my own methods and my skiing got better which I was kinda shocked that. And I took these methods and I applied it to other athletes and they were all getting better in their sports and I just kinda came to this one determination that balance is a subconscious autonomic system or part of ANS

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Jim Klopman: And you can always ski as fast as your balance allows you. You can  always hit a golf ball as hard as your balance allows you. Just you go over that limit, you’re not gonna to be able hold up when you hit the golf ball or you’re gonna fall on your ski.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. And we’re talking Alpine skiing, right?

Jim Klopman: Yeah. Absolutely. But we have great experience with skate skiers and cross-country skiers as well. We have skate skiers that we’ve trained that will say, “I can’t believe it. Day one, first day of this year, I was as good as I was last day of last year. There’s a massive amount of balance and those two uh— forms of skiing as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I’m actually a water skier and I also was a long-term Alpine skier as well.

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So huge fan of skiing. Lot of proprioceptive coordination with that.

Jim Klopman: Right. Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I totally agree. And again, you know, people forget one of the main feedback, the mechanoreceptors to the brain. That’s where a lot of the feedback comes from the brain is from movements.

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: If we’re not moving and if we’re not stimulating the muscles and the ligaments and the tendons to work in certain way—

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That brain loses that nourishment, that communicational feedback which is so important.

Jim Klopman: Right.  Right. What— we spent a lot of time working with athletes improving those—their peripheral vision. So we’ve seized it and we believe at our numbers. We’ve looked at it. About 90% of the information that comes in—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: —to the subconscious system comes in through peripheral vision so when you do things like a balance challenge, you’re engaging every its of bits of—it’s a total neural load and it’s the thing we do to have fun; it’s the thing that makes us feel better.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Jim Klopman: Nobody else says, “Hey I need to spend more time in the office.” You need to get out. You need the motorcycle riding, waterskiing, snow skiing any of these things, or going to amusement park. A balance challenge will just make us feel better.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. 100%. And so tell me about the slack bow. The slack bow is  one of these things that you created. I mean, they’ve been and slack lining for a while.

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: My friend massage therapist, he’s a huge slack liner.

Jim Klopman: Right. He puts slack lines across the uh—the board walk down to Lake Austin and such and he does slack lining and he did want to think that it Moab last year was a three or 400 foot slack lines.

Jim Klopman: Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think it’s great— it’s great that it really has a lot of proprioceptive stimulation to the brain. But tell me about how you came upon the slack line? How that helped improve your health and just describe what that is, in case listeners don’t know what that is.

Jim Klopman: Slack lining is—is a 1 to 2-inch wide flat web—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Jim Klopman: –that people will stretch over long distances and walk on like a tight rope. Now they’re doing this high line stuff nowadays which amazing like a __.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: They’re 400 feet of the ground.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: I mean they have safety built.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Jim Klopman: And they’re hooked with a__ in a harness, but what I—It started on this slack line years ago was that I didn’t want to walk on it coz I didn’t feel like there’s any athletic position. For one, it’s directly in front of you. In fact, there’s a tendency to be a little back on your heel.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Jim Klopman: All athletic sports, they’ll play in the front part of your foot. So, I created the slack bow which is a form that’ll hold 2 inch of web line that we can have infinite levels of adjustment in terms of the drop of the curve, or how loose or how tight it is. And we just do one-foot position on it. So I then took that and advanced to another step.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Jim Klopman: And we actually have applied for a patent on something called the “slack plate” which is something— is a three and half inch wide plate we put on a 2- inch line. What we determined is that a tight wire is easier than a rope. A rope is easier than a 1-inch line. A 1-inch line is easier than a 2-inch line and a 2-inch line is easier than a 3 1/2 -inch plate. So the wider the platform is under your foot, the harder it is to balance. And we take people through three positions, uh—we call that routine—we do straight on uh—parallel, we do diagonal where the big toe and second toe’s on the board and we do perpendicular, where across the board. 3-3 positions represent the three major balance challenges that you have. Your left or right, you’ve a rotational balance challenge—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Jim Klopman: and your front-back challenge. So when we get on there, we did what’s called two minutes of attempts. Now I’ve had slack liners come in to the studio, and say, “Hey, can we play on your equipment?” I’m like, “Sure.” So they walk back-and-forth, turn around. They do some cool stuff, jump around. “Bet you wanna try what we’re doing?” “Okay” To stand on a slack line on one foot for two minutes is pretty damn hard. And we’ve had the _athletes in the world come in and they go, “I’m sweating after 30 seconds” So what’s happening is you’re engaging every little muscle in your body and no big muscles. And then we add other components to that. What we do— what’s called neural loading. We will have you pick up a kettle bell or throw you off balance. We’ll start throwing things at you. After you catch or not, we’ve made noises around you, we’d bang you with foam sticks all these things kinda load the neural system differently while you are in this maximal balance challenge.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And did you say when the surface area gets wider, it gets harder?

Jim Klopman: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Is that what you’re saying?

Jim Klopman: Yeah. Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That almost sounds counterintuitive.

Jim Klopman: It is.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You think more surface area, you think more stability. Can you talk about that?

Jim Klopman: Yeah. Well, well I’m not sure why. Okay, number one, so—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: Here’s my guess. One is that we have this ape-like prehensile ability to kinda grab the bottom of our feet.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: After all, our hands have 25 so the bones and muscles in our body. Well, feet also have 25 some bones and muscles in our body. In a sense, they have similar characteristics in terms of their movement and how they are structured. Now, that’s one theory. The other theory is a more mechanical one. If I’m on something and if I’m just rolling from side to side on a thin form, that’s one thing. But now if I’m out here and I rolled to the outside, it’s turning the whole foot, so to speak. And it now becomes – and we find that. If this is the inside of foot, this is the big toe, this is the outside foot. As soon as somebody gets the outside of the foot, coz there’s really no muscles here, right? As soon as they get here, boom! they go. So we’re always trying keep them slightly pronated and this is what we talked about, too. We believe knee pronation and I know it’s a sin to talk about that because weightlifting is straight over your knees, straight over your toes. But every athletic move, I don’t care what move it is, whether your turning, hitting, throwing, you end up pronating one knee inside the toe. So we’re a big believer in turning the knee to balance better. And again, it works, that plate makes it more difficult. When you are on a line, makes it less difficult. And I used to keep a 1-inch line in the gym because I get the same challenge all time. I get it out and I’d string it up and show people.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: But I tell people now they come in, they’re trying to message us. Next time you see a rope fence, go stand on it. It’s easy compared to standing on a 2- inch line.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Interesting. And that makes sense. Your pronation is based on the knee kind of moving inward a little bit.

Jim Klopman: Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: But you’re not putting it under load outside of your body weight. So it makes sense that it’s more for balance than it is for, kinda loaded wraps, correct?

Jim Klopman: Well, we will load it, too but we won’t load it with massive load. It’s not gonna be wrong. If you’re doing, you know, maximal weightlifting and we talked about this the other day.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Like squat—

Jim Klopman: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Front squats, those things. You don’t want your knees to collapse out much with those.

Jim Klopman: No. It’s a different thing all together. What we will do and you know, they’re talking, some of these__

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Jim Klopman: How do you build strength inside the leg? Coz when you’re doing squat, you’re building a lot of strength on the outside of the—I don’t know why they called them quads—I don’t know if you know they discover new muscle amongst the quads. So now it’s the ___but—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, really?

Jim Klopman: Yeah. [laughs] But the point is you know, when you’re building, in those squats, you’re building a lot of strength outside, right? But it’s the inside the leg that’s pushing off and moving.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Jim Klopman: — in directional, you know, that change directions and where they hit things, so we’ll actually do strength work but it’s not a maximal strength work. We’ll get people into it—what’s what we call uh—we’ll put one leg low, one leg high up on a platform and have him do a squat and what happens is that lower leg will actually pronate a little bit and carry most of the weight and the upper leg won’t have any weight on it at all. And that’s a position at your end when you run and cut.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay. Interesting. So just trying to understand your progression. So you’re—you kinda went to this from a performance enhancement.

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: — for the skiing aspect.

Jim Klopman: Right. And were there any neurological issues in the past or neurological brain issues that you are trying to improve or uh—address?

Jim Klopman: None that I knew of.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay.

Jim Klopman: I’ve always had this fascination with— you know, I have one of those brains that’s, you know, flunked 8th grade two years in a row.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Jim Klopman: I flunked ninth grade and you know, you know the report card—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Jim Klopman: “Jim’s brilliant, why isn’t he getting his work done?” That kinda thing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Jim Klopman: And uhm—you know, I found the board of a large uh—organization that has professional mental health care practitioners and I was their advisor. So I was exposed to the best psychologists in the world. But finally, one day, in my late 50’s, I had said, “Something’s not right.” So I went to see Dr. Daniel__

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup

Jim Klopman: And they came back and said, “Boy, you have a lot of brain damage. You’ve got the brain of an NFL football player.” So that means I’m on my way to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, early Alzheimer’s or dementia. So I was like, you know, “oh, crap mode” and then one of the great things about their post-review when they’re showing me the scans__ “You have—have a tremendous amount of damage to your cerebellum.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmm

Jim Klopman: And we believe in neuroplasticity so what we want to do is you need to balance train.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it.

Jim Klopman: I do that every day coz that’s my business. They go now, “You need to do more”. And I’d go, “You don’t understand there’s nobody in my age in this country that has balance as good as I do. I balance train all time.” And they kept arguing with me and I finally say, “Screw it. Okay, I’ll do more balance work” But then at that point, it sort of makes sense to me why I did it and why maybe I felt so much better and more integrated. And for me, when I’m skiing, you know, you’re former Alpine skiing, you’re a water skier. Those are high-speed, high intensity.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: Huge amount of data coming through your system. Your brain goes quiet. That’s when my brain was quiet. Was it at 60 miles an hour slope? It was not quiet if I’m sitting around the desk.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Jim Klopman: So I pushed him through that. I talk a lot about on the book. Because a lot of great research that says, you take a walk in a cityscape, your brain maybe, it improves little bit. You take a walk in an uneven surface uh— on a path with you know, fractal surfaces like those trees behind you all over your place.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: These are all balance challenges. You produce a different level of chemicals in your brain. So there’s some real solid proof that says, these balance challenges do help the brain. And its— you go do these things on the weekends, you can get up and go to work. I mean—and have it sort of drawn out by Friday and you get up and do it again on— on Saturday.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. So walk me through that. So you got this PET scan. Were you doing this type of slack line training before the PET scan?

Jim Klopman: Oh, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So you were already doing that pre- So then you mentioned, certain areas of the cerebellum which is this are right in the back that of the head, that first bump.  Those areas weren’t lighting up? Is that what you were saying?

Jim Klopman: Yeah. I mean, what they show in this PET scan is— is they showed uh— it looks like a tissue scan but it’s not.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: You see these black holes. I don’t have a photo with me.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Jim Klopman: But see these black holes and those are non-functioning parts of the brain. So you don’t have a giant dang in the prefrontal cortex which makes sense because I’ve used to have real bad judgment. I’ve got a big, big dang in the corpus callosum area.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: But in the back of the head, it’s just totally muddled and sort of knocked out and I just— I just sort of gonna say we all think that the balance center is in the cerebellum.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: But one thing I found, you know, clearly and you’re a doctor, is it the 40,000 neuroscientists in the world—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: In about 20,000 are researching the brain-body interface. So if we knew what the hell’s going on, these things wouldn’t be happening, or somebody like me has adversely destroyed cerebellum but has great balance.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, absolutely. These other parts of the brain that can definitely compensate and pick up what where others aren’t doing as well.

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And so what happened, post-op? So did you increase your training? What happened and what of the post scan were like? Were there improvements?

Jim Klopman: I haven’t done post scans. But just to let you know that I went to the—coz I have no problem going onto bleeding as__ technology. I started doing some __stem cell work and I think that’s had a help. That’s help me some, too. So I just take, you know, they’re pulling it from my bone marrow three years ago. Now they are doing it from fat. But we’re spending it and pulling out and then just doing with a little IV push. And I—I’ve had a couple of __ down as well. I think those things may help. But I’m waiting probably another year to—before I go back and have a test done. So I— I work at it from a couple different angles. I do a lot more balance now. I used to do balance instinctively. I just felt better afterwards and it’s really a business model problem for me. But uhm–But I do it instinctively now, I’m more conscious about doing it more regularly. And it helps. And the reason it’s a business model problem is it— people come in and they work with us and they get a massive work out but they leave feeling good. They would leave feeling integrated and typically people associate feeling like shit means a good work out, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: “Uh, my trainer kicked my ass.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: So we don’t give you that sensation but we have that clients that leave and go “You know I left your place and later that afternoon, I went to go spin class and I had to beg out halfway through because I was out of gas.” We do deplete the system, but we deplete it and you feel wholly integrated and well. Just like it—you feel like after you’ve waterski for the day, you’ve snow ski for the day. Man, you feel great, but you know you’ve been gassed.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. I mean, you’re really stimulating the nervous system to recruit more fibers and a different way to provide that stability versus just that gross power and force, so to speak. So that makes a lot of sense.

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And how important right now for you and for your improvements and the people that you work with, is the dietary component? Are you really making sure the inflammations reduced? The nutrient densities up in decreasing toxins? What’s that component like?

Jim Klopman: Personally, I do a lot on it. You know, I’ve been on a—coz I read somewhere—I jump on things when I shouldn’t.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: 25 years ago, the brain, you know, needs a massive amount of fat. I’ve been on a high butter diet my whole life, so to speak.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: And it really helps me because now it has become popular with Dave Asprey, the Bulletproof guy.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Ketogenic. All that. Yup.

Jim Klopman: And I’ve trained him. And you know, I think it’s an important factor is just something I stay away from. I point people in that direction and what I’m—you know, basically I’d say high-fat and you got to get more microbes. I don’t think any of us get enough of the right microbes in our system. And I know myself when I’m in sort of microbial imbalance, micro—micro biomes not correct. It will affect my balance. It will affect my performance.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Jim Klopman: We work with—we work with MS patients uhm— and we work with—like you said, these people have concussions and you can see sometimes in them that things change. You know, I’ll ask him, “What did you eat yesterday?” And you can see things change with that, too, so—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, yeah. I see that a lot and there’s some even some research study showing that just gluten exposure to decreases  blood flow up the carotid artery which these little garden hose that’s inside of you head.

Jim Klopman: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That can decrease frontal cortex—

Jim Klopman: Sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: kinda output and stimulation, so—

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Again, like you mention, your cerebellum wasn’t as active. There are probably other areas that are picking up the slack.

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So we want to make sure we have oxygen and nutrition.

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s all gonna happen via blood flow. And for pinching that off, that make sense for the impairment, for sure.

Jim Klopman: Right. And it’s a neural loading, too. Your vagus nerve is your biggest nerve.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: And it’s overworking coz it’s trying to coordinate crap between your stomach and your brain and that’s a problem. You know, recently—I can’t remember the name of the University, it escapes me—But recently discovered that there’s a brain tissue in the lower back that actually takes data from the feet and manipulates it and sends the sense back down to lower extremities. So even balance information that’s not going to the brain, you know, you have these little pockets of brain tissue in the stomach, in the heart. And now they found a little pocket of brain tissue in the lower spine. So to me, it’s all these— people talk about brain and—and I, you know, my own brain, right? But just think that this balance system is like magic. I mean, this stuff going on everywhere we teach people how to use their hands. And I had a guy this morning had amazing breakthrough and goes, “I get it. I feel it. I understand it.” And I think that there’s  data that comes in through here that we don’t know about.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely.

Jim Klopman: And it’s hung. We see people all the time position at times in different places.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Jim Klopman: And there’s research that came out University of Wisconsin with Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita who sort of discovered the whole neural plasticity deal—They take a neurostimulator called the PoNS device, a portable neurostimulator. They put it on the tongue and they have people with zero vestibular system—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: –that put on the tongue and they stand up, and they can walk, and they can move within seconds of putting the thing in. and the crazy thing is, they take it out as a residual effect that’ll last an hour or two. And the more they use it, the longer the residual effect goes for. So it’s like, “okay, they got it destroyed the whole tube system and the rest of your systems gone. But here they are, up walking and moving. What the hell is going on?” It’s such a complex system. I don’t think we can say it’s one thing or another. It’s everywhere.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So what was that device in the mouth, again?

Jim Klopman: It’s called the PoNS Portable neurostimulator. It was developed at University of Wisconsin, Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita’s lab. I forget what they call it now. And there’s a—now I think a Canadian Company had it for awhile and they were trying to get FDA approval and now it’s in a company in Pennsylvania someplace. But the problem is you know, FDA nowadays—how does it work? What’s the—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: How does it work?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Jim Klopman: Nobody knows how it works. What we see with the concussion patients is when we stimulate the whole nervous system. The whole neural load, they get better. And these are—we have physical therapist that had—had concussion, post concussion syndrome in their own team, their own, you know, group of doctors and other physical therapist can help them. They come in, they get fixed because we stimulate all this nervous system. Well, they believe with the portable neurostimulator, that just by stimulating the tongue’s richest nerve part of the body, stimulating those nerves somehow connects the other—makes, I don’t know, they don’t know—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So this device, it sits in your mouth and provides like a stimulation of the tongue. Is that what it’s doing?

Jim Klopman: So they put it in your mouth—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: And it’s got a plate with a little stimulators all over it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it.

Jim Klopman: And there’s this little piece out here that’s got a level eye.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: So you lean your head on your left, you get stimulation on this side. You lean on the right, you get stimulation—lean back. So the tongue becomes this sort of what those three__ that’s supposed to do in your vestibular system.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: Starts to sort of tell you where you are and that’s pretty cool. What’s cooler, though, is when they take the thing out yet.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And you keep that benefit.

Jim Klopman: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s really cool.

Jim Klopman: And it stays for a while. And we have the same results. It will stay for a while and then, boom! There’s uh like, two hours later and you tell them before about well being and balance uhm—back where his first patient was a woman named, uh—last name was Schwitz. She had a destroyed balance system. She put this thing in her mouth, she—15 seconds she’s up, she’s got her balance and then she take out the residual effect that’d last an hour. It would last longer, longer but she said every time—and she knew she had a cure to her balance problem. She said, “Everytime my balance— I lost my balance system after a residual effect wore off, I immediately got depressed.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmm.

Jim Klopman: And so you have people that—who have Meniere’s disease, they go, “Oh, it’s caused by depression.” I’m not so sure that the Meniere’s disease is the primary.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Jim Klopman: And the depression is secondary.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Interesting. Okay, so—and by the way, I think I remember the slack bow over at Bulletproof. Did Dave Asprey had it at the Bulletproof conference?

Jim Klopman: Yeah. I had it there.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: Two years ago. Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I remember that. Absolutely. Okay. Alright. Very cool. And so—

Jim Klopman: So you look familiar, too. So now—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay. Alright. Cool. We’re putting it all together. So, looking back here, right? So, did you start just doing slack lining before you went to the bow and then created the bow more of this kinda convenient? Is that kinda how it worked?

Jim Klopman: Yeah. That’s a good question. So I put up a slack line, you know—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Jim Klopman: I was looking for something in the industry, you know, I can stand on a bagel board—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: And do all sorts of things on that. Bows were never any challenge.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: So we use bows with very unique ways now.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Jim Klopman: Uhm—and we use balance boards. I make my own—we make our own balance boards now. I got on the line, I said, “ I can’t do it. This is a balance challenge.” What I need—you know, you can’t—you’re not gonna get stronger if you lift 5 pounds a day, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Jim Klopman: You gotta lift 5 pounds, you get better; you lift 10 pounds, you get stronger.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: Well, the same thing with balance. You just can’t do it—“I’ll just do this”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Jim Klopman: Coz you’re not gonna get better unless it’s a real challenge. Well where’s the challenge? And then I started playing around with it, going—well, you know, all balance is on one foot or the other. Whether you’re skiing or whatever the sport is, you are putting weight on one foot. Even in your sport of waterskiing—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: It used to be all back. Now you’re moving forward, turning, moving back, one foot, two-foot type of thing going on.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, yeah.

Jim Klopman: You run, you’re on one foot, you got uh—you hit something, you’re transitioning from one foot to the other. It’s just all one foot. So I started doing some 1 foot work on it and adding other components to it. And A I said, “Well, this is it.” It’s not the walking because if you have one foot directly in front of you, that’s a very unstable position. Everything—you know, this is by feet. I’m gonna be here or here. I’m never gonna be like this. So, after that, I said, “Why, I gotta do this on a regular basis, but I can’t keep stringing it up on tress. I can’t keep wrecking trees, you know. So I try to build my own frame, that didn’t work. Uhm-  I contacted Auburn University, uh— and they hooked me up to their senior class. In their senior class, engineering class design my slack bow for me.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s amazing.

Jim Klopman: And it—I got 7 students on my patent with me.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s very cool. And what does the slack bow cost?

Jim Klopman: They’re 14.95 plus shipping. You know, it’s a big device. It’s 15 feet long.  We have this thing called the slack block and I’ll send you a couple. It’s uh—13 inches long and probably 80% replicates the movements that you have on a slack bow. We say—I say the way you define a good balance challenge is it has to engage the whole body.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay.

Jim Klopman: If you’re just wiggling the bottom of your feet, or just your butt’s moving, your ankle’s moving and the upper body has to stay still, that’s not a balance challenge. Until you feel like you have to engage this whole system up here, that’s become a true balance challenge.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So someone wants to, you know, try one of these devices or exercises, what’s the best—if you’re on a slack line, or on the slack bow, what are the best top three movements to start to kinda get your, you know, your foot, well, so to speak.

Jim Klopman: That’s a good question. So if you get on a slack line—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Jim Klopman: First of all, it’s best to have it close to the ground. If you have to have it high up, you—now it seems today, if you get on our slack bow, we have you close to it. So there’s no, you know, there’s no kinda push to get up there coz you’ll get exhausted.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Jim Klopman: where? At your quads so we just want you to roll on and lift off the other foot. So close to the ground is important.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Jim Klopman: The other is to be on an athletic position. The athletic position is like a 1 foot on the line on pressing forward on the inside front quadrant of my foot, my knees bent—I’m not bending over at the waist—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: I’m dropping down into it. And the other leg is kicked back a little bit. And then you just kinda have to let things move freely. You can’t—you know, we have dancers coming, they wanna hold positions and cheerleaders, other athletes wanna hold tight.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: You gotta let loose and we’ll see—we’ll see athletes that come in and do a lot of uh—big weights and I know these are good medical terms, so I hate to talk like this in front of a doctor, but we—we have big mobilizer muscles—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: — and the small stabilizers muscles.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Of course.

Jim Klopman: So these guys that are super active with the big muscles they come in and they can’t move. And it’s funny you’ll see them and all they can do is waive their hands. And they’re like, “Why are my hands doing this?” And I’m going, best—the only thing that you have left that you can move. Over time, the more balance they get, the more things start to release. And people who have back problems come in, they got a back problem and then they’ll work for two hours and they’ll come back and they call me the next day and go, “My back problem is – I have no more pain.” And I think it’s because they have done so much work with the big muscles that all big muscles can do is kinda go on-off, on-off. And  you know that whole spine area  has got thousands of whole stabilizer muscles and they have to be able to move and flex. And once we activate those, it takes the big muscles from going on-off, on-off and the little muscles start to take over.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. And I totally agree. I think a lot of people, too, just from training and going to the gym, they typically train the muscles in 2-dimensional ways. They—they use machines that essentially make the muscles big and stupid. And they are two-dimensional, that’s the problem because muscles need to work in three-dimensionals. That’s how you get the tendons and the ligaments to work and stabilize, right? And so when you jump on these slack line for instance, or any type of device that requires three-dimensional stabilization, you’re right.  You can barely do anything because your nervous system has to recruit every big muscle that you don’t have much range of motion left after the fact.

Jim Klopman: You’re 1000% right.  And—and you know, we see that. The other things  that are driving me crazy is it when you see in a gym or—and you see weight lifting, it’s all bilateral movement.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Jim Klopman: There’s nothing in sport that is bilateral movement. Everything’s gonna be ipsilateral, crossing the body.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Jim Klopman: So this is crazy. Number two, you see people who uh—you know, it’s a lock out, so I gotta go back on my heels. I take my pelvis, I know there’s some more anterior-posterior toe but I call it rolling on or rolling back.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: They hold their ass under, they’ve locked out their knees, they’re on their knees.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: No sport anywhere is played on your heels. Nothing is.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Jim Klopman: And then when you, I’m sure you see back problem coming in. You see old man, lose their asses.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: Coz they’ve rolled them under the whole time. They’ve lost structure and muscle and their glutes and now they’re back’s carrying all their weight, their hamstrings are small and they got bad backs. I think it’s just—I don’t get it. Why would you build strength in all these positions and all these motions that you don’t use anywhere athletically?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. That’s the thing. A lot of people who would have back issues, they lose the ability to have proper hip extension out of their glutes—

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Insead of uhm—bending or instead hinging at the hips, they’re bending at the back and you’re getting more ligamentous activation and the biggest muscles of the body, right? The ones that make the best filet steak ever, right in the glute. They’re not even working

Jim Klopman: [laughs]

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Like you said, these guys that come in, their glutes are all atrophied, right?

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You should have that kind of—uhm, you know,

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And the heart-shape is the right side up.

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Because their gluteus medius are overactive and their glute max at the bottom are all weak and atrophied.

Jim Klopman: Right. Right. Exactly. Yeah, I mean, so you get it. So it’s—but when we got the gym, we don’t – we don’t look at that. And the other is we see people walk—uh—we teach people how to walk. You know, you’re walking on these

shoes that have, you know, 10 to 15 mm lifts and then you get the toes rolled up and people are walking in that. We actually stand— people stand with a good posture and then I push them on the shoulders, and they just fall over.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Jim Klopman: They go off their shoes, get on the inside part of their toes, bend their knees a little bit, roll their posterior a little bit, so engaging their glutes, they’re stable as they can be. Then they go back to walking like that. And so we teach people how to walk coz if you wanna be an athlete, don’t just be an athlete for the two hours you’re on the task or you’re on the football field.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: And then you walk like a noob device

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: You’ve seen great athletes. With great athletes walk, it’s clear that they’re great athletes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely.

Jim Klopman: Coz they move like cats.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: And if you think about that, move like that all day long, you can become a better athlete.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely. And I think Paul Chek and Mike Boyle talked about this, too, where a lot of the lifting movements, whether it’s the squat or deadlift, or even the bench press, you’re—you know, you’re mounting on the ground, you’re pushing, or you’re extending, or you’re pressing.

Jim Klopman: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And they talked about, for instance, you have someone that has a

4-500 pound bench press, well, you get them on a cable on a one leg.

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And then do a press forward with a single arm.

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  They can’t even press nearly as close to when they’re stable because the stability is in there. Coz you gotta have it stable before you can recruit, right?

Jim Klopman: There’s no doubt about it. And I had an interview with some CrossFit guys the other day.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm. And we talked about CrossFit and they said, “Well, I said you can’t lift any more weight than what your balance is__”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Jim Klopman: They say, “So what do you mean?” Because your body goes, “No, damn it. You’re gonna get hurt”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Jim Klopman: So subconsciously, it is the most powerful part of ANS. I can slow down my heart; I can speed up; I can stop breathing; I can change blood flow. Y,ou can’t sit here and go, “I’m gonna lose my balance.” You’ll fake it, you know, but you’re not losing your balance. You can’t say, “I’m gonna make my balance better” I can’t run and cut any faster than my balance will allow me, so the weights it holds—you know, I can only lift up so much. Well the guy who won CrossFit games this year, they had a trail run.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: I mean a gnarly ass trail run.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: I don’t know if you saw it. God, it was brutal. He kicked everybody’s ass and you could see him moving it was the first event. And I just said, “This guy’s gonna win. And then he uh— placed second in the sprints coz he cut around the cones better than everybody else. And I looked at his performance here before. So he placed second in sprint, I was thinking he would have placed first if he’s been in the same heat as the other—the guy who got number one.

Last year, in the sprints, he placed 24th and 32nd. We’ll you don’t get that much better but training over the year. He did something different. And I think somehow he’s done something to improve his balance, improve his coordination and agility. So even as finding his way in a sports like that and I agree, even when you—lifting weights on your back is patently stupid.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Jim Klopman: But you know, lifting weights when you’re standing, you—if you improve your balance, you’d be able to lift more and improve your kinetic chain at the same time.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I’m a huge fan of contralateral and ipsilateral’s single leg work.

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Whether it’s single-leg deadlift—

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Or even just presses—

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Or just, you know, movement that involves single leg whether it’s a push or pull—

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think it’s a great starting point.

Jim Klopman: Right. Have you heard about the research on Parkinson’s and boxing? They’ve discovered—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Are you talking about the head injuries, the head trauma?

Jim Klopman: No, Well—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, more of the actual movemement. Okay, go ahead.

Jim Klopman: Elderly people with Parkinson’s and in the—I don’t know what you call it, but retirement homes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.

Jim Klopman: Some trainers several years ago took him to the gym and they just started boxing. People who hadn’t talk for a couple  of years started talking. People are getting up on their wheelchairs. And to me, it’s like, “Oh, well, what’s the boxing?” Now that research is looking, I’m going, “It’s simple. You’re doing an ipsilateral, crossing to the line movement.” And they’re just doing this and they’re getting healthy. You know, I’m sure you’ve seen chronic patients that come in that just seem to have that homolateral left leg, left arm movement and their missing that whole ipsilateral movement in it when they walk and move.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. And that makes sense. And hopefully they’re not—you know, taking the punches on the other side of the fence with the— with the brain Parkinson’s issue.

Jim Klopman: [laughs] They’re not hitting each  other, just hitting their bag.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s just the punching movement. Yeah. And it’s interesting, too, because  she’s going to deny hitting each other listening and it’s interesting to because I see, you know, some of the main benefits of exercise is really being neurological.

Jim Klopman: It is.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think there’s a handful of CEOs that a written article where they talk about exercise for them is more about—it’s more brainwork than it is muscle work. Frankly, a lot of people, they are motivated to exercise typically to lose weight and to look better naked. And that’s frankly, the major motivation. But we want to step it up one notch and say, “Okay, that may be great for the superficial, aesthetic side.” But your brain, and the neurology and your nervous system is even, you know, one level up, I think.

Jim Klopman: You get it. You get it. My god, you get it. I love that you get it. But you’re right. I mean marketing companies I’ve spoken to said, “Well you need to have some, you know, buff guy.” And I say, “Look, I’m 64 and I got like low body fat and I’m fit and all that. And they go, “Yeah. But you need to have somebody with you know, the big, massive muscle, tits, and all that kind of stuff.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim Klopman: Well, I’m not gonna do it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right. Right. And so, I just wanna make sure, let’s say people wanna, you know, go all in and get some – just start doing some slack line or procure your device—

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Let’s just go over those top three exercise, one more time. So they jump on it. If they’re on it, you know, they’re kinda in tandem. Left leg is in front of the right—go ahead.

Jim Klopman: Well—I wouldn’t—They don’t have to start on slack line. They can start on the ground.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay, great.

Jim Klopman: So start on the ground, one foot, knee bent, the other foot back.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay.

Jim Klopman: And just balance for just a couple of minutes like that. Now if you want an added challenge, you don’t have to buy me slack lock, you could just put a couple of sets of folded bath towels underneath it. And that creates enough instability right there.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So we have left leg, right leg kinda like in tandem and then vice versa?

Jim Klopman: Exactly. Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay.

Jim Klopman: I wish I could stand back, but you know, this is your left leg and your right leg. The toe is you know, lined up with the heel.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: But you bend forward and you’re on your knee, and you’re like this—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: And you let that whole body move. Now, if you wanna add—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So are you just going back and forth? Or just trying to move your hands and kinda adapt to it?

Jim Klopman: No. You just try to hold still.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hold still. Okay.

Jim Klopman: Try to stay up for as long as you can. Two minutes. It all locked out but let the body move.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it.

Jim Klopman: Now, if you want to add a challenge to that, take a kettle bell and put it on the ground, like a foot in front of you. Pick it up. Put it down 6 inches in front you. Put it down another 6 inches in front of you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: You can’t bend at the waist to do that. You have to drop down into a deep one-legged squat with that other leg. And it’s a master balance challenge.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I get it.

Jim Klopman: The lower you get on one leg, it’s a massive challenge. Now get the other leg off the ground, right? Only on one leg and then reach out as far as you can.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it.

Jim Klopman: And you find it. You have to collapse in an organized way. You can’t bend at the waist so your chest will always line up—your chest will always line up your knees and as you drop down, you go down, down ,down. It’s harder and harder to pick that thing out in front of you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And you’re saying the front leg comes off the ground with that coz you’re bending over?

Jim Klopman: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it.

Jim Klopman: I’ll create a video for your folks if you wanna hook up, you know, link up to that. But that’s one uhm— the other is uh— you know,  if you wanna advance to a slack line, do that. But, you know, there’s a lot of people__who’d do that. Same thing. Just get on one foot and just stay up as long as you can on one foot. We—my partner, Janet, give me help coz I’m always teaching people how to push them along. The reality is if you stand on slack line on one foot, your body’s gonna find the right position. Your kinetic chain is gonna find the right—all those things that’d come together. I don’t have to teach you a thing. And my business would be easy and I would make more money if I’ll just say, “ Just get up there and I’ll come back and check on you 20 minutes from now.” Because you’ll get better automatically. It’s a—here’s the thing, it’s a software system. So if I teach you how to play golf, you have to spend time learning how to build the skills and those muscle memory things. If I want to lift weights, you’ll lift weights so much, you get better. We have people that will come in and train and at the end of uh—say, the session, level II, they come back to be at level III. The body just is starting to work on immediately.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Jim Klopman: The improvement is massive. The thing that will happen to you when you go on a slack line, stand on that one leg, is your leg goes—will start to go what we call, “sewing machine” motion. And we call that neurological confusion. So if you see me on a slack line, I’m steady. I kinda float, but I still move. I can’t hold perfectly still. That “sewing machine” motion is you have the same firing pattern I do, you’re just not organized. So your muscles are going, “No, you fire” “No, you fire” With all that sewing machine motion to upset you, you— you— you can’t consciously go stop it. Although I have great athletes go, “Stop, stop, stop!”

They’re yelling.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: — Grab the leg— just let it happen because it’s your body going, “Hey, we’re figuring this shit out”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: And they do, and it’s amazing how much better you get, how quickly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s great. Okay, so we have just kinda your tandem stand, you have the bend when you’re almost doing a one-legged squat or deadlift.

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: As you pick up your kettle bell. What’s the next movement that they could do?

Jim Klopman: Well, you know, another thing that we talk about with the pronation, and again, this is so you know, it’s like I know young girls have problems with pronation and—and

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: They’re tearing ACLs. But you know, what we do is we say, “don’t pronate, build strength outside the pronation” I’m like, “No, if you pronate, build strength in that.” __lets you need pronation massively. So why can’t—why am I not allowed to pronate? So we do where just simple leap side to side. We can call it, “side to side” but it’s—again, wish you’d get away with it. If you’re like this, we want you to go out and land on the inside of your foot. If you land and you roll to the outside, you’ve lost control and we want you just to narrow that stance. So you just go, “boom boom boom” and in order to make this happen your knee has to pronate.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay.

Jim Klopman: There’s nothing— if you try to go straight knee over your toe, you’re gonna land. And once you’re out here, you’re gonna find yourself tipping over. It’s once you get to the outside of the foot, you’ve lost your balance. So there’s no balance there. So all that balance is on that front inside quadrant of the foot.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So what’s that last third movement? I just wanna make sure we get it for the listeners.

Jim Klopman: Let’s just call it “side to side” So if this is your fee, you’re standing, I’m just going—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: Boom-boom just side to side like that. I’m just moving from one foot to the other. Maybe only 2 feet and I then I go wider and wider, but I’m always trying to land on the inside of my foot. If I land on the inside of my foot and I rolled to the outside, I’ve gone too far.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay. Got it.  So your feet aren’t in tandem then. You’re more wider and you’re just going from side to side.

Jim Klopman: Right. One switch to the other foot. Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay, then what would be one more exercise on top of that?

Jim Klopman: Let’s see— balance challenge—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And then—how about just—like if you’re in tandem, can you just move one extremity away from the body? Wouldn’t that start to recruit? Cause your body to be a little bit more unstable and have to recruit more stabilizers?

Jim Klopman: Yeah. But if you do that, you end up getting—you gotta be careful coz you’re on the outside of your foot.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Jim Klopman: We’d much rather if you did something similar.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: You get on one foot and you take the off leg that’s not on the ground and  kick it behind you and that’ll cause you to get more in the inside of your foot. So if I’m doing – so—like you said, I wish was in the studio. But if I’m doing this here-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: I could be dropping down and have that other foot kicked behind me this way and I’m on my left foot. That’s more of a balance challenge. That is to have one foot and try to kick that foot out like that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. Okay.

Jim Klopman: So once we’re here and the other foot to kick behind it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it.

Jim Klopman: So you just stand there now in your left foot, just take your right leg and put it behind your left and then just drop down. The more you can kick that left leg out to the side—see, my left leg is all the way up here, right? My right leg is all out here, my left leg’s here. That’s more of a balance challenge.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So you pull that back leg out and then you push it back and out a little bit.

Jim Klopman: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. Awesome. Well, is there anything else you want to let the listeners know about kind of exercise, the slack line or just improving your neurology and nervous system?

Jim Klopman: I just think it’s – you get it. It’s wonderful to speak to someone who gets it. Uhm—it’s a hidden loss. We have four main categories which are four main things that we say causes to lose our balance. And it’s the modern world and you know, I’ve developed this one—I’ve developed this index, called the “common balance index” KBI. 0 to 150 is average, 20 is you need a cane or walker; 80 is like a college athlete, pro athlete-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Jim Klopman: 90 is like accessory. A 100 is like a Cirque du Soleil performer.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: The world we live in is built for 10. And level 20 is built for people with walkers and canes. So you spend your whole life on perfectly flat floors, perfectly vertical surfaces around you, every step is perfectly sized, so you have no balance challenge when you live in the modern world. So what happens is you don’t use it, you lose it. You don’t know that your system’s getting degraded from a 50 to a 40 to a 30. Then you have a 60 challenge, you may not fall, you may not get hurt. But falls in—in are he number one cause of injury and death for people over the age 65. And that number is not going down. It is nearly doubled in the last 15 years. So how can that be with great doctors like you, great health all over the place.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Jim Klopman: The falls will get worse. It’s because we’re losing our balance system and we don’t know it. It’s an unseen loss and there’s other, you know, reason for the losses as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Interesting. There’s also some research on vitamin D being a big thing with the vestibular system and balance as well, which is interesting.

Jim Klopman: I can imagine.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Well, excellent. You’ve given us some great information. Last question I asked everyone. If you’re stuck on a desert island and you can only bring one supplement, herb, or vitamin, or nutrient with you, what would it be?

Jim Klopman: [laughs]Butter.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Butter. There you go.

Jim Klopman: Grass-fed butter because it’s loaded with vitamin D, anyways. And uh—huge amount of nutrient value to it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I love it. I love it. I appreciate that, Jim. and again, Jim’s website is slackbow.com More information there. And will put some—any of the links that you mentioned earlier, will put it below the podcast description and the YouTube description as well. Awesome.

Jim Klopman: And I’ll do a little video of those exercises so people will see what I’m doing, so –

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Excellent. Thanks, Jim, for coming on the show. Well, you have an awesome day.

Jim Klopman: Thank you. I appreciate it. Bye.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Thank you.

 


 

REFERENCES:

 slackbow.com

https://blog.bulletproof.com/about-dave-asprey/

 

Dr. Ben House – Enhancing testosterone and improving your health- Podcast #130

Dr. Justin Marchegiani welcomes his special guest Dr. Ben House, a functional medicine doctor based in Costa Rica who also works with a lot of athletes. Join them as they engage in a very stimulating discussion about boosting up performance athletically as they focus on the role of testosterone in the male body.

Gain valuable insight about the recent researches related to Dr. Ben’s area of expertise. Know about the different tests, markers and treatment approach that he uses to address his patients. Get to apply some valuable information related to effective movement patterns that might be related to your health and body goals.

In this episode, we cover:

2:35   Nutrition Recommendation

9:40   Overtraining and Cortisol: Testosterone Ratio

13:33   Functional Medicine Tests for Athletes

18:37   Steroid and Insulin Use

33:30   Movement Patterns

42:40   Blood Markers and Patterns in Athletes

 
itune

 

 

youtuve

 

 


Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey, there! It’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani. Today we have Dr. House in the house. Dr. Ben, how are we doing today, man?

Dr. Ben House: I’m doing great. How are you?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Excellent. We got you on Skype, too. So anyone listening to the MP3, feel free and click below and check out the YouTube channel as well. And Dr. House is over at functionalmedicinecostarica.com

Dr. Ben House: Yeah, that—that’s me. That’s where I’m at.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And you’re seeing patients virtually, as well, which is great. So if you feel like you jive at Dr. Ben, feel free head over there and reach out to him. Dr. Ben is also a PhD grad over at UT. Hook ‘em horns, baby. I’m in Austin now, too. So I’ve given up my Boston College UMass. I’m a modern now. And UT Longhorns, baby. So, congrats on that. Excited to chat.

Dr. Ben House: Yes. I miss Austin. It’s an amazing city for sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It is. And I know you used to work with a lot of athletes. Were you working with the UTF-8 as well? And the football players and such?

Dr. Ben House: Uh – I worked on a time, right, in basketball.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Basketball.

Dr. Ben House: Uhmm – Yeah, yeah. So now he’s in the Philadelphia 76ers. So I consult with couple of proteins but uhmm—it’s—yeah, I primarily work with males and athletes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So tell me a little more about that. Like what are some of the low hanging fruits mean? Maybe we don’t have a lot of professional athletes listening here today. But what are some of the low hanging fruits are, you know, average people are listening can take and apply to themselves to make them better athletically?

Dr. Ben House: I think a lot of times we put professional athletes on the pedestal.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: But most of the time, professional athletes are—uhm—they’re successful in spite of what they do.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Because of what they do.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. So it’s probably not best to look at what they’re doing. Uh—uh there’s obviously exemptions to every rule. There are really some teams that are really pushing the envelope as far as nutrition. But you gotta think in the pro circumstance, there’s not a ton of motivation and drive to get guys healthy if it doesn’t get them performing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Dr. Ben House: Uhmm—so kinda sell there is—is Dr. Bob is really good about this—it’s you’re selling longevity.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Coz can you—after someone’s thirty, can you give him 10 years in the league, right? And that’s—that’s pretty important. And so, if we take this to the weekend warriors,  someone who’s—who just loves to train like me. I’m not a professional athlete.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: I played college football, but after that, the dream was dead.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Uhmm—And so it’s—it’s we really gotta—I think the low hanging fruit is the fundamentals—the things that we always talk about. Coz most athletes—they—they don’t—they overtrain because they’re under recovered.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. Totally. Now on the diet side, that’s probably a foundation. I think you’ll agree with this. On the diet side, are you kinda following the paleo template? What is the food quality? What does the macros look like with an athlete like that?

Dr. Ben House: So when I lecture on or talk about nutrition, I always talk about three things. So we have quality is the first thing for me. Quality is super important. Uh—we have quality in there, we have timing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Dr. Ben House: Those are kind of—For me those are in the order of importance. Uhm—but we have to be really careful. Like Michael Phelps.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Who probably eats 68,000 calories a day.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: You obviously can’t eat brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes and get it done. Uhm—so when you have—when you have some who’s just training 20 hours a week, your quality has to drop. And you have to make sure your adjustment’s on point as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Dr. Ben House: Coz otherwise you gotta just stop, put the car in the garage, and really kinda figure it out. And so it’s—we’re at a really cool point where I think we have some technology coming out where we can just individualize.

Dr. Ben House: So all these—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: –hypothetical, best way shit can just go away.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. So we got the basically, high-quality proteins, high-quality fats. They’re probably—maybe these guys are gonna be higher on the macronutrients with the carbs and such, correct?

Dr. Ben House: That all depends – So carb work—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And in sport maybe.

Dr. Ben House: The carb world is really—there’s—I think of carbs as n__

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Ben House: And so if—if you want somebody to go fast, you need carbs and glycogen assistance. And so you can’t—you can’t feed high-intensity exercise on fat. It’s—it’s—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Dr. Ben House: We know that if your fat adapted, you’re actually—you’re actually metabolically inflexible so that you can’t burn carbohydrates at those—at those faster intensities. Uhmm—so for me, it’s all about what is athlete doing. What if they’re, you know, 40 year old, strength athlete and they’re 20 pounds overweight, uhmm—I’m gonna stay at the 5 rep range. Probably knock down carbs pretty well. If—are they a 20 year old athlete who’d never had any problem with weight, and I got their blood sugar, all looks fine, I’m gonna—how many carbs do you take, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. Okay. Alright, got it. So we have kinda the macronutrients, we’re obviously cutting out—organics gonna be obviously dialled in, right? Food quality’s gonna be dialled in. We’re eating enough calories—that’s big. We’re mak—making sure the in the HCl and the enzymes are up to snuff so we can actually break down and digest those foods. We’re making sure we’re drinking, we’re sleeping maybe 8-10 hours. That could be big thing as well. Uh—more exercise, more muscle breakdown requires more recovery. I think with Steve Nash and Tom Brady, too. I mean they get like 10 hours sleep a night. I think that’s the biggest thing. Huge.

Dr. Ben House: Number one. Like if you wanna increase performance, like this is out of  Stanford, like sleep more. Spend more time in bed.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. You get to bed between 10 PM and 2 AM and you’re asleep during the cycle. You’re getting access to maybe $3,000 to $5000 of growth hormone a month just by getting in bed during those timeframes. Would you agree?

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. And I mean, testosterone is also secreted. GNRH works in that—inside that time block, too. So it’s—the circadian rhythm hormone. So you start jacking up your circadian rhythm. And a lot of the—one of the probably because athletes we see, they’re just hooked up on cell phones all the time like this is perpetual, you know, Twitter, Facebook, social media feed. Man, that’s—that’s a whole lot of bull S.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Totally. So you get the nutrients, you get the digestion, you get the right amount of exercising. That’s a really key thing coz a lot of times it’s train, not drain. And you see a lot of overtraining with your athletes?

Dr. Ben House: Well, I think we have to be mis—I come from a strength coach background. So in the college setting, the strength coaches it—it’s unfortunate. And you even saw it at the  University of Oregon.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: When they got rid of radicals who was like, “who’s the man?” Uhm – and I bump into this other guy and he started smoking people and he put three guys in the hospital. Uhm—so the saying with this coach is pri—it’s sometimes they’re thought of as the punishers. So they have to dole out like someone doesn’t show at the practice. And so, if you’re in a team sport atmosphere, like—you don’t have that much control over the overall, though. There’s some people that are using like Zephyr or some really cool GPS program to over—to like measure overall look.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Uhm—but some of that is outside of your control.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: The cool thing—in the general population and if you have—while like private is because you can have total control over the athlete.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: And—one of my favourite examples is Rutherford who like—he was like the 200 best in the world. Uhmm—and now, when he—he was training like typical like four days a week. And they brought him to like one-two hard training sessions every 10 days, and he won the gold medal. Alright. So—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow.

Dr. Ben House: So it’s kinda—it’s like everybody is individual and so if you can individualize that protocol and—and volume’s a hammer, right? And so that’s not the thing sometimes that we wanna use all the time.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right. Right. That totally makes sense. So when you’re exercising these guys, are the movement patterns gonna be standard for each person like the functional ones like squats, deadlifts, lunges, step up, like core pushing and pulling movements. How do you adjust those and tweak those with the sports with the athletes?

Dr. Ben House: I—So that’s gonna be all dependent on the sport, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: And the position that they play. Uhm—so if you got a baseball player, like it’s all rotary power, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: It’s probably getting them—getting them at the right side of the right handed. Getting them kinda even and obviously not getting injured. from up your eyes standpoint.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Dr. Ben House: Uh—so—it, it’s so rare but I think for that, it’s also gonna depend. Like is strength, is arm strength really doesn’t apply unless like you’re a full-back or a line man. Uh—sometimes the best guys in the weight room are the worst kind in the field. Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Dr. Ben House: It’s uh—we have crossfit now. I think that’s kinda—that—it’s really cool. And now the weight room is the sport.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: And so weekend—it’s open right now—we can do crossfit as much as we want. But I think it just produced some people that can take insane amounts of volume. Uhm—and not everybody can. And they get—It’s very Spartan type society.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, totally. Now when you’re working out with someone, is there a certain heart rate that you want people to get back down to? Maybe with your adrenal dysfunctional patient, is there a certain heart rate you want to get back down to before they go into the next set?

Dr. Ben House: Uh—I’m kinda __heart rate isn’t our best.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay.

Dr. Ben House: It’s an okay marker.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Ben House: I—there’s a new technology that we’re using called mock C—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Ben House: Which is essentially muscle oxygenation. So we wanna see that muscle is just resaturated with oxygen (O2).

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: And it’s get—it’s probably not a horrible for just the average person right now.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: But it will get more affordable, uhm—it will get more usable. Right now, it’s not that user-friendly. Uhm—I think you probably want to get back to a good resting heart rate. Also the—the research is pretty clear cut if you’re chasing hypertrophy. Uhmm—that 2-3 minute window for rest is probably where you wanna be.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 2-3 minutes. Got it. And are you looking at free cortisol to uhmm—I’m sorry, free testosterone to cortisol ratio to assess overtraining in any of your athletes?

Dr. Ben House: So I look at total testosterone. I don’t put a lot—this is my personal opinion—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: I’ve done a lot of research on salivary panels and I don’t like cortisol panels coz they’re just like—their—they’ve done 30 days of salivary test and they’re super variables especially in athletes. Uhh—so I don’t—If I could get a week of them, I would use them. But if I could only get one day, I don’t wanna just—I don’t wanna live and die by that one day. Uhmm—so, and I—you can ask questions. Like you know, probably the best indicator of overtraining is like hey, how you’re performing. Like how do you feel, how’s your mood like. So a lot of times, we can get a lot of information just by asking questions.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. And what’s your total cortisol cut-off? Your total testosterone cut-off be like? Is it 100 above?

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. I mean the research is—I don’t really get, I don’t like the whole bench press number of testosterone.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Dr. Ben House: I think it’s only looking at production. We don’t know the sensitivity and the receptor. We—we can get such binding globulin and the albumin.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Dr. Ben House: We can get free testosterone but I mean the ment—the mental strain of that for guys like, “Hey you’re inadequate, you have a testosterone of 5.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: I don’t like to do that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Do you see correlations, though? Do you see like, “Hey, these are the althletes that are responding the best, that are recovering the best or getting the best results” Here is where his numbers at. Do you see any correlation there?

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. I think—we can’t really make that correlation—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay.

Dr. Ben House: inside of physiological ranges. Uh—we don’t have a lot of data on that as far as research. Anything I would say would be anecdotal there. Uhmm—do I think, do I have a hunch that it’s better to be at 800 than 380?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Yeah. Totally.

Dr. Ben House: Do I know that 800 is better than 600 or 500? I don’t know. I haven’t seen that. I’ve seen—I’ve seen some beast that are in the 500 range like 10% body fat, like 210—like they’re front squatting 400 pounds. Like, so—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Testosterone can be really variable. I think it peaks more in the AM right? And they can drop down in the afternoon. It can be the variables. So you may just catch it at the wrong window.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. And in some circadian rhythms are screwed up like you have no idea where you’re measuring. So, like it’s—it’s to me—it’s the lab value is not the person so I always wanna like, “Who is this person?”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. Yeah. You gotta look at the clinical outcome along with the—the objective values. Totally makes sense. Are you doing any adrenal testing with your regular functional medicine patients?

Dr. Ben House: I don’t do a lot of adrenal testing. Uh—you interviewed Wakowski here, kinda one of my favourite sayings, like 99% of new-age primates are cortisol resisting or have cortisol dysregulation so—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Dr. Ben House: To me it’s like why do I want to measure chaos? I’m a big fan of not measuring chaos. Uhmm—and that—that’s just my viewpoint. So I would be apt to use like—I would use it later.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Ben House: So if you’re sleeping, if you’re doing all the things that you need to do, then I’ll run that—if we’re still not getting what we need to do. But the other way you can kinda frame it, too, is well, if I put this—I try to make it as least financially kind of—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Uh—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. You’re trying to make it that the buying financially is low as possible so you can help more people, right?

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. Yeah. But for the testing standpoint, so—if—if someone—if I don’t—if they don’t care about money, I’m gonna get this test coz then if I show them, right? Then they’re gonna have it buying.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Exactly.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. And lever is gonna be higher. Okay, your free testos—you’re free cortisol’s jacked. You have no DHEA. You start to do the shit that you need to do, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly.

Dr. Ben House: Uh but if I can get that from other means, If I can them dialled in the fundamentals, then—and doing all the things that they need to do—coz nobody in the general population’s doing that. I mean slow—today is low.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. So looking like at the palette of test, functional medicine test that you’re using with your patient, with your athletes, what are those top tests?

Dr. Ben House: Uh, so I – my top 2 are definitely a comprehensive blood panel

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it.

Dr. Ben House: And then CSA. Like uhmm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Stool analysis.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. And if someone doesn’t—if that doesn’t pop, maybe I’ll go grab a SIBO breath test or something like that if they have—if they’re carbon tolerant—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: But we gotta immediately fix the digestive component. And obviously you don’t fix that without fixing the cortisol component. But uhmm—that’s my—that’s what I do. And then I’ll run precision analytics sometimes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup. Okay. So you will do one of the—the drug urine testing for the adrenal rhythm sometimes.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay. Good. I do those tests as well and their good.

Dr. Ben House: I want to see uh—so a lot of functional med—I think we can get in trouble coz I’m a PhD so I’m very research oriented.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: So if a test doesn’t have a ton of research behind it, I—I’m not very apt to use it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Dr. Ben House: And that can be good and bad. Uhm—but I think like 5 years down the road, like is that lab gonna run like duplicates for 30 days? Are they gonna—are they gonna just do everything in their power to validate that measurement? Or are they just gonna this is it. This works? Then that’s—that’s what I wanna see.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. That totally makes sense. And Biohouse got a new one out, called the CARS, the adaptive response. And they’re doing cortisol I think three times in the morning.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And it’s interesting because you do cortisol right away, you do it an hour later, you do it two hours later, and you see a major change in that first two hours. So I think people are really getting more stringent on when you do cortisol especially in the AM which is helpful.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. Our lab at UT actually did a bunch of stuff on the cortisol awakening response. Which is—which is—that’s kind of—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: You knew that’s oughta things go as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I totally agree. Now looking at growth hormone, how does growth hormone interplay? Kinda potentiates the effects on testosterone? How does growth hormone interplay? I know it’s connected to IGF-I goes to the liver. How does that affect testosterone and basically when you put on more muscle?

Dr. Ben House: So—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I know it’s a lot—

Dr. Ben House: Testos—testosterone’s gonna feed in IGF, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay.

Dr. Ben House: A lot of times and we can get the liver obviously want to work—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: growth hormones gonna be secreted at night and then the liver’s clogged is not gonna make IGF. To me, we can— from an IGF perspective—I’m not super well versed in IGF because I work with a lot of young athletes. And I don’t think we’re gonna have a lot of  IGF problem, like IGF-1.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: I’ve never—I used to measure IGF-1 all the time and like no one was out—like no one was—everybody was kinda in range. So I stopped running it. Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: And that’s just my take. Now, could they benefit from growth hormone? Probably, right? Uhm—but we also have to be careful with that because IGF-1 is a growth factor.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. It causes cancer.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. And well the research on that’s kinda another thing HGH is not related to increase cancer risk but I think—I think the evidence there—is there—just a little bit caution especially if you have a lot of cancer in your fate. Uh—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Totally. So basically, the big things to increase testosterone: sleep, protein consumpt—ad—adequate protein, I imagine, right? The right amount of stimulus and then how about the timing of nutrition? Where does the timing come in to really potentiate testosterone and growth hormone?

Dr. Ben House: Well, I don’t know if we have a lot of research on that. Like acute—acute feeding of either fat or carbohydrate will actually lower testosterone uhm—especially in the fasted state. So to me, the bang for the buck there is probably from and under recovered mechanism. So if you just crash your glycogen stores, you probably wanna refuel. Uh—in—we know the biggest thing is gonna be total energy intake. You drop your total energy intake by 15%, you’re gonna lose D3, you’re gonna lose testosterone, so getting—if—if someone’s not—if someone’s training hard, they need the—in my mind, they have a body comp issue. And they’re training hard, they need to eat as many calories as they can to maintain their weight.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So when you see these guys in the NFL, for instance, let’s say a linebacker that needs to be big, strong, but relatively lean and fast, is it really just the quality of nutrients and getting enough of it? I mean these guys literally eating two-three thousand calories   more than what they would need just at that height and weight to keep that mass on?

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. In season, like you’re gonna see—you’re gonna see insane amount of calories going and going on their mouth. Like—they—they have to. They are that active. They’re—like you have a 230-250 pound man, they need a ton of food –three to five thousand calories easy. And so uhm—that’s—you gotta be careful coz that’s hard to get. And if—and that’s why we can get into trouble like intermittent fasting with that athletes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: And Paul Quinn is like very, very against intermittent fasting in athletes. And — I—I’m—I’m in the same camp. Uhm—if you—body composition is completely different, health is completely different, but I think—especially in season if you have an athlete that—you gotta get—you gotta make sure that you get him first.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. What’s your take on steroids in general? Using steroid and/or using insulin as well. What’s your take on that?

Dr. Ben House: I—yeah. Yeah. This is awesome. Uhmm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Let’s do it.

Dr. Ben House: From a TRT perspective, I think we’ve—and—a lot, just like a lot—like marijuana and I say marijuana’s bad or good. Nothing is bad or good, right? It is all context.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Uhm—I think we’ve had a veil dropped over our eyes as far as testosterone the same way.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Ben House: Uh—and everybody thinks their testosterone is very negative because of baseball, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: But—the overall, the evidence for testosterone replacement therapy is overwhelmingly positive.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Dr. Ben House: Overwhelming. So—uh—now, we don’t want the same thing. We don’t wanna just slap that on every guy. We wanna make sure—we wanna use all these lifestyle strategies first, but traumatic brain injury—I – you know that’s gonna affect testicul—the—testicularitis. And so—And also, blaunt trauma to testicles. My best friend played __cross. He got hit by a 110 mile cross bow in the nuts. He had three concussions, right? So is that guy—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Aww, man!!

Dr. Ben House: Is that guy gonna be able to produce his own testosterone, right? And that’s not that abnormal like you talk—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Dr. Ben House: You talk—you talk to a lot of professional athletes like how many testosterone do you have?  I don’t know—right? Especially—especially in contact sports. Ask any of the guy.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s crazy. And elbo—also the xenoestrogen exposure is gonna disrupt LH- luteinizing hormone feedback loops, too, right? So we have the—we’re bombarded with the xenoestrogens and if you’re a female, obviously just in birth control pills will scrap the females as well. But you have it in the water, you have it in the pesticides and yeah—the plastics as well.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. This is something like—male health—this is why I feel so strongly about male health is coz we have no idea what’s gonna happen, right? Babies—they—their PON1’s are not very active. And PON1 is that enzyme that kids rid of persistent organic pollutants, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. Yup.

Dr. Ben House: And so we got—30—the top 37 pesticides that are used in our foods are anti-androgen.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: So we have no idea what’s gonna happen, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: And then so the—and they only run test on one of them. They don’t run it at all of them. Uh—it’s—it’s very scary. Uhm—and this is—from my protecting you have to do everything in your power to eliminate all of those potential pollutants, right? Skin care products, everything. So we gotta get kinda weird. Uhm—and you don’t know if that’s gonna have an effect but you have to—you have to make sure. You cannot—especially babies. Like we cannot put that on—Look at the male population it’s going up today like it’s pretty scary.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, especially if you—you can’t breastfeed your child and you’re feeding them soy protein isolate. My god, the phytoestrogen content that you’re getting on that can rise up to potentially a birth-control pill in amount. Especially that’s all they’re relying on for the first six months to a year.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. It—it’s wild, man. Like it—it’s—it’s gonna be—it’s gonna be really, really interesting as you see what happens in 30 years. Like when this generation gets so like their 20’s and 30’s and 40’s, it’s gonna be—it’s gonna be wild.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. I have some people here in Austin, they’re uhm—doing some run care in melatonin and I’m researching helpful companies that’s more essential oils and more natural compounds and reusing like dying to meet—dying to make just earth to treat the fire ants or using boric acid for natural things. And peppermint oil for the Hornet’s and vinegar for different things. So we’re trying to limit our load naturally. But I see people everywhere else they’re putting a lot of chemicals out there. Are you familiar with the research on lung care products and like childhood lymphomas and leukemias and such?

Dr. Ben House: No. I haven’t—Well I haven’t looked at a lot of that research coz that’s not in my wheelhouse.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it.

Dr. Ben House: But if you look at people just eating organic vs. non-organic p—produce like if you eat organic produce, you’ll get higher sperm count—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Your sperm is clear. It’s hard—that’s the dopest study at Harvard Med.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Yeah. I totally get that one, for sure. I’ll plug the documentary, too. The disappearing male.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Excellent PBS documentary that talks about basically these estrogenic compounds in the environment that are hurting men and our future babies. So, keep that mind, too. That’s really good.

Dr. Ben House: You can kinda educate me on this, but I think all of those are gonna be mitochondrial toxin-based, right? If you jack up the mitochondria, you’re gonna have trouble with cancer.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, absolutely. You’re gonna have issues with cancer. There’s a great book it’s called, “Tripping Over the Truth”. That’s a really good book on cancer and the connection with the mitochondria. That’s a really, really, good one. And also, just the fact that it affecting the HPT access coz you screw up LH, uhm—you screw up the pineal gland, that affects melatonin that affects puberty. All these things that antagonizes itself. And then the more fats cells you have, the more estrogen you produces, then it’s a downward cycle, the more insulin-resistant you become. And it’s just this downward cascade—this metabolic accident, so to speak.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. It’s just loops everywhere. And you gotta figure out how you’re gonna break those loops and—and that’s the thing, some guy, they have like 25 loops right in. And you just wanna give them to—that’s not gonna fix the problem. You have—That’s not—you’re not helping anyone.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. And what about things like anabolic steroids? The more synthetic ones? DBOL and such?

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. I don’t use those. Uh—I have clients who do. Uh—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. What’s your take on that?

Dr. Ben House: I don’t—I don’t manage any of that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Ben House: What I do is I just wanna make sure that—that’s their choice, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: So I—as a—as a—as—just a male in general and as a clinician, I don’t ever wanna change someone’s goals. I just wanna help them do what they do better. And so, if you wanna be a pro body builder—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: You’re gonna have to play in that realm. Now I’m not the guy to run your anabolic regimen. But I can at least see like what’s going on? Are you—are you able to get rid of it? What’s your liver doing? How’s the hematocrit? Can manage all the things that could go wrong in that situation? 24:33 Uhm—the research on that is—is—is—is I think one thing that I would like to highlight—so they’ve done studies where they give a guy 600 mg a test.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: And the average builder like 1100, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: And so they give these guys 600 mg a test in 12 weeks. They give 20 pounds a muscle without an exercise regimen.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Whoa!

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. So you’ll think about—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s insane!

Dr. Ben House: You’ll think about like instagram phenoms, like you got a lot of people out there—a lot of males that I think are chasing things that aren’t physiologically possible. Uhm—and that—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You mean—

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. Go ahead.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You mean like the people you’re seeing align, they’re doing those things that you mention. The 600 mg of tests and they’re just getting massive amounts of muscle that you may not be all to cheat naturally. Is that what you’re saying?

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. The ethotomy is uhm—so that’s a—that’s a calculation that you can do. And anything above 25 is—it’s kind of—then you start asking questions.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Like my ethotomy is like 24, right? And I’m, you know, 1—190-185-190 and anywhere from 8-11% body fat. Maybe a little bit more if I’m off my game. Uh—and so there’s kind of a line in the sand that we can cross naturally. And obviously there’s gonna be people that are above that just from a statistical perspective.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: But if someone just looks on godly jacked, I mean maybe—well—who am I to say what they’re doing and I don’t wanna be the guy that’s the ultimate whistle blower.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: But I think we just gotta—we just gotta—when you look at everyone else’s highlight here, you’re gonna start questioning your own self-worth and I don’t know that you wanna do that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. Totally. And what do you think about uhm—tendon growth when you’re on hormones like that? Let’s say, I know more of the artificial, but in general, do you get the compensatory growth in the tendons to support the increase in muscle mass?

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. So that’s one of the problems, right? It’s uh—you think about how the body responds like to__

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: The first thing that we’re gonna have is neural, right?

You can get that in minutes. And the second response is muscular. And so that’s gonna take, you know, 8 minutes, maybe last if you’re—you’ve never__

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: But that—that collagen response that you know, that’s building up the fascia, building up all the tissue and the bones. That takes a longest time. So when you take shortcuts, if I put a 25 lb muscle on you, and I haven’t—I haven’t build up the structure, I’m gonna—that’s when you like—biceps tear don’t happen. Like you see a bicep tear on a deadlift, like, “Uhmm” I’m thinking, what’s going on?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Totally. So do you uhm—

Dr. Ben House: Does that make sense?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. That totally make sense. So you—something you’re careful of and you increasing collagen supplementation to help provide extra tendons building blocks, too?

Dr. Ben House: Well, everybody had—everybody is pretty much using that I have is collagen protein.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great. So you’re doing that.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. Especially in the beginning, I take everybody off away for 30 days just coz it’s a common allergen.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: And if they can handle that, I want it back in. Uhm—but yeah—yeah I would say that’s kind of a non-issue for me.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So you sub out—will you sub out like the way for like a high-quality, hypoallergenic pea protein in the meantime?

Dr. Ben House: No. I’ll use—I’ll use uh—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Beef?

Dr. Ben House: I think if you take enough pure paleo, I think you’re gonna be fine on losing content.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it.

Dr. Ben House: That’s like a 3-gram threshold. So yeah, less than whey but if you take 30-40 grams of it, you’re gonna be fine.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Nice. Awesome.

Dr. Ben House: Well, I know you post a lot on Facebook. You got a home gym, you’re dad in Costa Rica now, you move from Austin down there. So you got a pretty awesome lifestyle going. Give me a quick walkthrough in the day of a life of Dr. Ben. What time do you get up? What do your meals look like? What does your work out looks like? What is post and pre work out nutrition look like? What does sleep look like?

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. That—that’s fun.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Ahaha.

Dr. Ben House: So my days, I wake up—one of the cool things of why I’d wanted to move here is getting closer to the equator.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Ben House: Uh—So I go to bed like 8:30. Can’t keep my eyes open.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow!

Dr. Ben House: And then I’m up naturally like you talk about cortisol awakening response, like I can’t sleep past 5:30. So—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s great.

Dr. Ben House: So I wake up—I wake up and I immediately sit, right? So I sat for—I meditate for 15 minutes. Done that for years. Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great.

Dr. Ben House: Never—never will stop. That’s kinda—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Any kind of meditation? Just kinda like a blank slate in the head and you’re breathing or—

Dr. Ben House: I use mantra practice. Sometimes my dad is a—is Zen teacher.

blank slate and had new breeding or is much about is sometimes my dad as it is in Zen teacher is an ordained Zen priest.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, awesome.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. So in—I started—I took my whatever you wanna—I’m kinda involved when I was about 19. Uhm—probably the best gift that I was ever given uhm—was that to be able to go to that—come to that mindful practice early.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s great.

Dr. Ben House: So I’ll do—I’ll do some calming. Sometimes I do some Tibetan practice which is like—it’s one of my favourites where you wish someone well that—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: And the next breath, you wish someone well that you’re kinda apathetic about.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Ben House: someone that you don’t know very well. And the last, you wish someone well that you hate.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Ben House: That you don’t really like.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: And it kinda—it really helps you and by the end, you’re kinda like, “Man, I don’t have that many people that I—that I don’t like and why I don’t like them.” It becomes mostly probably, you know, you start looking to word about that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Dr. Ben House: That’s one of my favourites.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Love it. That’s great. So morning routine, you’re getting up 5:30, you do your meditation 15 minutes, what’s next?

Dr. Ben House: Uh—so if it’s a training day, I’m probably gonna have some type of easily digestible carbohydrates and Natchan in the morning coz it’s hot here. Uhm—also, I train in I’d—I like to smash myself with prob—I’m NEAT head, there’s no way around it like I’m gonna be that guy probably even if—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: ills me. Uhm—And so I’m—I’m working that glycolytic high intensity pathway uhm—3x a week. In my youth, I do it unbelievably too much, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: But—so I’ll do that and I’d work for about 3 hours in the morning depending on what I got. I usually don’t take clients until the afternoon. Uhm—And then I’ll train or if it’s a non-training day, I’m just working. Uhm—and then right now, we’re building a retreat center so I have a lot of things that I—I’m the gen—I’m essentially the general contractor there so—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s awesome.

Dr. Ben House: And so half my day is in Spanish, the other half is in English. Uh—sometimes I have to run up there and do stuff but—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Nice.

Dr. Ben House: I spend—I spend 4 hours at least a day on Pub Med in researching and writing. That’s my—that’s my thing. I love it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And you have awesome Facebook posts, too. I appreciate it. You really condense a lot of the research down.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. I think that’s how we move people, right? We just consistently hit them. And you do it with a podcast.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Like this is a—even if it’s—even if it’s repetitive affirmation like if it produces an action, that’s what I’m all about.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. Got it. So Pub Med 4 hours a day, that’s awesome. And then patients and then what’s next after that?

Dr. Ben House: I try to stop working.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Uhm—I think a lot of us are super passionate about our craft. I’m better about that when like something isn’t coming like I have uhm—big—big presentation’s coming up in a month. So now, I’m kinda—I’m always prepping for that. Those are kind always in my mind. So I use a lot of hard mat to kinda like turn my self-doubt.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup. Yup.

Dr. Ben House: Uhm—And I try to shut it down. Shut it down in the evening, definitely by 5 or 6. And I’ll just do fun stuff with my life, right? Maybe we’ll read. Maybe I’ll read something like super unscienc-y. Maybe we’ll just watch a movie. We kinda watch— I tend to push for comedies. He tends to push for dramas but uh—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: And I always make sure—one thing I’m really, really like big on is you have a treadmill test. It’s just baseline of movement. Like—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Huge.

Dr. Ben House: We put all these—we put all these pressure on exercise and it’s just a small bucket as far as like movement. It’s like NEAT is where it’s at, Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. And so if someone is not gaining 10,000 steps in a day, like all of the core can take can be just regulated. They’re not gonna be able to sleep. So so many good things happen if people just move.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, I agree. I mean I just got seen patients yesterday. I’ve got 25,000 steps yesterday. I mean I walk about 10 miles a day. I’m on my leg uh—my fitness power here. And I’m like—you know, there’s a leader board section and I’m always like—I always like try to be number one. So there’s yesterday right there, 21, 500. So, super. I love it.

Dr. Ben House: You’re living it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. And then the key thing is to I kind have my kettle bells down over here and then some push-up bars so I try to rep some of the that stuff in between patients even if I can do 2-3 minutes in like 5 or 6x a day. It just keeps the metabolism up.

Dr. Ben House: Sounds good.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: I’m—I’m—I train so hard that you could I mean—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I get it. I get it.

Dr. Ben House: I’m not doing pull ups—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You’re done. You’re done after that. You’re done, man. Absolutely. So right now, we have a lot of listeners that may not be at that professional level, right? You know, frankly, they wanna be healthy, they wanna be energised, they wanna have good relationships. And then probably I can say that they probably wanna good look naked, right?

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. Yeah. That’s the point also.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. So what are the top 5 movement patterns those people should be doing? And maybe you wanna differentiate man and woman so in case something is different there.

Dr. Ben House: Uh— So I would say first of all, like just how people are gonna come see us for a lot of like metabolic stuff and all the—everything that we do for functional med. See somebody who’s good at movement—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Like—like you’ve been at a desk your whole life and you can’t take an exhalation. Like you probably shouldn’t be deadlifting.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Ben House: Like if you’re stuck in this state of extension. I don’t know that that’s—are you really gonna even activate your hamstrings? I have no idea, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Especially __Uh—so I think we wanna be able to use—we have to be able to use the big guns. We gotta—you know—hamstrings, quads, back—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.

Dr. Ben House: Chest, right? And so you’re gonna—you wanna squat, you wanna deadlift, you wanna benchpress, you wanna military press, but it’s always risk vs. reward. So the risk of anytime you strapping somebody, 2 hands in a bar is higher than if you put on single limb, one arm weighted, right? Or one leg weighted.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.

Dr. Ben House: And so for me it’s all about how do we individualized this to the person? And if you don’t individualize this, what we’ve seen is—so one of my—one of my good friends in—we used to—we have a business together in Austin, his name is Erin Davis. He’s probably—he’s like the most unknown exercise scientist. And he’s like purposely so. He’s like a hermit. And he’s a—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Nice.

Dr. Ben House: He’s an insane, right? And so he straps up all these gadgets to this dude. And he’s like—and – he just messes bench pessing. He’s like, “What the hell? You’re chest doesn’t even turn on.” Right? And so he can’t even—out of a barbell  bench pressing, he can’t even get the guy’s chest to turn on because of his positioning. Gives him a dumbbell, boom, he can get—he can get pec activation. So I think it’s—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, wow.

Dr. Ben House: So I think it’s really important that you see somebody who’s good at movement evaluation so you can look at your position, right? Coz muscles are slaves to position.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Ben House: So the position—who the he—what are you gonna do? Uhm—and I think there’s DNS, PRI. There’s a lot of uh—FRC. There’s a lot of things that are looking at that now.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Uhm—and there’s a lot of people that are really good at it. And so see them, pay them for their time. Uh—in Austin, there’s a guy Steve Cuddy who’s amazing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Uhmm—Erin Davis and Pad__ is obviously really good and Dave R__ has done the same as Marcus—who’s awesome as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s great. So what are the top 5 movements?

Dr. Ben House: You tell me. What’s gonna activate the biggest muscle groups?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So for me, off the bat, it’s gonna be deadlift coz that’s the only one that connects upper body and lower body but actually doing with correct form really activating the lats, locking them down. Number two would be squat. I wanna get your take on front squat or back squat, though. I would do uh—pote—I’m a big fan of unilateral single leg like deadlift movements. I like those with cables. Big Paul Chek fan with that. I would say step ups and/or lunges and then after that, I mean, If I’m doing a movement, I would wanna do something that has explosion. So I would wanna do either uhmm— snatches or uhmm- cleans or sprints.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. I would—I would pick like maybe one of those. Haha—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, let’s hear it.

Dr. Ben House: That’s good. That’s great.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I want—I want your take. Let me hear it.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. Yeah. Uh—So you gotta—upper body pulling is like super—you gotta have—you gotta have one of those in there.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.

Dr. Ben House: So whether—that’s probably a lot. Maybe a pull up if you can do it right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay. So you’re talk—Alright. Got it.

Dr. Ben House: Uhm—if someone’s goal is just health, probably most people’s goal is hypertrophy.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: So in my mind, they need to get really, really really good at the fundamentals.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay.

Dr. Ben House: Variety may not be your bestfriend.

Dr. Ben House: You may need some of it just to keep you—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: –in the game. But you gotta be—I would probably use a trap bar. Uhm—safer for the general population. You can load it up.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani : Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Uh—it’s gonna be more quad dom. Uh—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.

Dr. Ben House: I’m—So the—From the—from the deadlift perspective.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: I think it’s great but if you’ve been a gymnast or if your hamstring length is really, really long, if someone can palm the floor, I’m gonna be very—I’m not gonna use—I’m not gonna throw a deadlift at somebody right there.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay.

Dr. Ben House: I’m probably gonna use—I’m gonna use maybe couple of Bulgarian split squats, Which is probably my favourite exercise for the general population. Where you like get to activating the hamstring uhmm—from a front squat, back squat perspective, the muscle activation is fairly similar. Uhm—I would probably lean in the general population more towards the front squat because you’re gonna have more anterior core, you’re gonna have to stabilize, right? And also, like if you can’t do it, you—you drop it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Whereas the back you can like—you can—you can—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. You’re gonna overpower it, for sure.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. You might hurt yourself. Uh—so those are my view points. Again—and I use uhm—I think speed and doing things that people love is really important so—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: You know how to Olympic lift, and you like to snatch, you like to clean obviously. I love those things. But if you don’t like doing Olympic lift, there’s a lot of—like sprinting is a great way. But in the jumping—there’s a lot of different little things that you can do to come and get that fast twitch movement coming. Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Are you doing any single leg stuff?

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. You can do single-leg hops, you can do, you know, whatever. You can—I do it ton. So I don’t—I do myself in all my single leg and kinda that prep toy stuff. That’s one of my cool down. So that never leaves, right? I’m doing a lot of like prehab, rehab stuff. But my meat and potatoes is my meat and potatoes. Uhm—it’s like you can’t lose sight of that. But if someone has never train in their life, their entire workout might be prehab, rehab.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay. That makes sense.

Dr. Ben House: Does that make sense?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Totally. Now you’re reading a lot of studies. You’re spending 4 hours a day on Pub Med.  What are the key things that you look at in the studies so that you don’t get tripped up by you know—coz sometimes the conclusion might not match what the actual study has done. Just—I know we don’t have an example here, but what are the key things people should be highlighting or looking at when they’re reviewing the study?

Dr. Ben House: That’s a—that’s a problem to question. So like UT was kinda burning to us in the PhD department really, really early.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Uhm—the first thing he looks at is the chart.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: So you go straight to the figures. Uh—you look at the figures and then—and then you kinda look at the stats section. You figure out— And this is from a research perspective.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Then you look at the stats section, then you look at the subjects and then you start digging the—everything that’s going on the method section. Before you look, at the conclusion and maybe—sometimes I’ll just—I’ll buzz your abstract to see what I wanna read. I’ll definitely do that. Uh—but the problem is most people, even myself, being out of the grad school for, you know, a year and half-two years. We don’t—I don’t like looking at a ton of stat research. So like Microbiome data. It’s probably the best example here. Like our lab run a ton of microbiome data.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: We got stool samples on many people, we sent that out – yeah we send it out to another lab. Uhm—and that guy get all the analysis—all the genetic analysis on the poop.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: And then that guy couldn’t even analyze the data. So had to send it to a statistician to analyze the data so that we can have—we can think about it. So think about all that. Like that is—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Lots of steps.

Dr. Ben House: Now you ask the general population. You’re asking the general population to look at some kind of general linearized cluster analysis. But I don’t even know what day it is, right? And so—that uh—that—like—you know—and so they have—they tend to digestible and take away. So there’s a lot of reliance on science. If you see a study, and this is kinda something that we could talk about. You see a study that’s running like 20 paired T-test, I’m immediately like, “What the hell are you doing?” Like you can’t run—it’s—you have this 95% like a .05 alpha.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: So in order for something to be statistically significant it only has to happen 5% of the time, essentially.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Dr. Ben House: And so if you run 20 tests, one of those is gonna poll just from a statistical standpoint. So that’s—you gotta be careful with that. So in that situation, I’m looking for a manova instead of an inova.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Uh—so if you see kinda like this fishing explanation which you’ll see a lot, you just see the smorgasbord of data. Uhm—be careful with that. And so—coz it can—that’s one of my favourite things to pick apart.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Anything else? So let’s summarize that. So you like the manova—you look at the—the uh T-score, right? The .05 you’re looking at that as well.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You’re looking at—

Dr. Ben House: You go ahead.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You looking at the graph—you go ahead.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. You just—so we wanna make sure that something is—something can be  statistically significant but mean to us.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Ben House: So if it is— if it’s like say, you have a .1 rise in testosterone, but it’s at the .001 level, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Okay. You have a statistically significant finding but it’s clinically meaningless. So we gotta make sure that—that their findings actually mean something.

 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. Awesome. That’s helpful. Anything else you wanna add on that?

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. I think that Alan Aragon, the best way to learn about research is to read other people’s critiques of research. Uhm—and Alan Aragon has his research review. And it’s a steal. It’s 10 bucks and you get 8 years of monthly research review. So if you wanna get good at reviewing research, the best place is you just read it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Totally makes sense. Now you mention back earlier that you are looking at a lot of blood patterns. What are the big patterns that you’re seeing pop up? Are you looking at thyroid? Are you looking at protein digestion by some of these markers? What are you seeing in blood?

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. So the first thing—the first thing that I’m gonna look at is haemoglobin and glucose control.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.

Dr. Ben House: Uhm—that’s not the best measure for athlete because they’re gonna dispose of red blood cells faster than general population.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: So if you see a high HbA1C in athlete, you might actually be a little bit more worried. Like maybe like 5.6, you’re like, “Uh—what’s going on with you?” uhmm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Ben House: And that all goes to context, too. Like are they gonna gain? Are they trying to gain weight? Then I’m not—they’re not probably not gonna get diabetic if they have a ton of muscle mass.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Uh—And that’s all context dependent. And I actually like—I’m—I don’t put a lot of weight in my fasting glucose and fasting insulin.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Ben House: Uhm—you’re probably gonna see this, right? I don’t work with a lot of chronic patients. So that—that—C peptide and those measurement fasting can be really good for those kind of patients.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: But when you—when you got a guy who’s 6’1, 8% body fat, that’s probably not gonna tell you much.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: No.

Dr. Ben House: Uhm—and so I—what I really like to do is I like to use glucometer protocols.’’

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Ben House: Uh—and so I have people grab—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Come on right here.

Dr. Ben House: Just grab it 13x a day and see what happens.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: And send me—send me a graph and send me when you eat and let’s have a—let’s have a discussion. Coz if you eat 3 rice cakes and you go to, you know, 200. That does not happen.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: You’re storing glucose in urine like we don’t want that to happen. So that’s the way we can kind of, you know, tweak carb load. The next thing uhm—obviously, you need thyroid support.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: You need thyroid hormone. It runs in every cell of the human body. So I’m gonna drop—from there, I’m probably gonna drop down to thyroid and see what’s going on there. Uhm—I mean I’ve picked up so many like—Hashimoto’s in like 14-year-old kid like one of the best pictures in Texas.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow.

Dr. Ben House: And he couldn’t recover, right? He constantly has this stupid injuries. And we grab  his lab work, his TPL is like 300.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Whoa!

Dr. Ben House: And we’re like—Yeah, and we’re like, “okay”  And he feels better, right? All these—we can’t—I can’t—his dad is like, “Oh, he needs to eat like Brady.” All that stuff—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: No.

Dr. Ben House: I’m like, “No, he doesn’t.” Like—and now the kid is taking ownership of it which is amazing. He’s like—he’s like, “No, I’m not gonna eat that.” And so now, he on—he pretty much eats only autoimmune paleo. He have some rice, he does okay with rice. Uhm—and he couldn’t—he was overweighing, still crushing it like meanest curve ball uhm—this side of Mississippi. And so—but now—he’s—he’s—he looks amazing, right?

And if you play at these schools, these Texas schools, you gotta look the part. Like even if you’re—even if you’re amazing, you have to—you have to look like an animal.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely.

Dr. Ben House: That’s kind of unfortunate.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I mean have Hashimoto’s myself and I play baseball and sports and football growing up. And I had lots of injuries coz I was trying to eat 11 servings of grains in the food pyramid, so there’s a lot of misinformation out there. And again, a lot of people are seriously inflamed. And the more inflamed they are, the more catabolic. The more catabolic, the more they can’t recover and uh—put on muscle and heal, essentially.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. To me it’s like—it’s all about breaking cycles, right? My dad has celiac disease.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow.

Dr. Ben House: We found out—we found out when he was like 40, like 10 inches of his colon moves—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, man.

Dr. Ben House: His gallbladder is tightening up.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yikes.

Dr. Ben House: Like that’s why I got into this. I was gonna go to medical school.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: And my dad got super screwed up by the conventional medical system. He was having pain killer on demand. Uh—and then I was in Colorado and I—Breaking the Viscous Cycle, I’ve read the book—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: And I was like, “Hey dad, let’s just change your diet. Three A’s set him free, he was struggling like 10 years.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I know. Isn’t that crazy? Dude, I know. I see it everyday. I mean—it’s—we have he most rewarding job in the world.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah, for sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Because you get someone banging his head against that conventional medical wall for 10 years plus, at some point, they started throwing it back on you. Saying it’s in your head, and they start making the Psychophol, right? And writing scripts for Zoloft and such. And then you’re just like, “ My god, this can’t be real.” You know—it’s gotta be real. So looking where you’re at, uhm—you mentioned uhm— blood markers. Anything else? You’ve talked about thyroid. Any specific cut off that you wanna talk about with TSH, T3 or antibody levels?

Dr. Ben House: Uh—Yes. So what I’m—I’m use uh—I use a software And so I’m always looking at total T3, total T4, free T3, free T4 and—so I’m always looking at what’s going on with that. Are they producing a ton of T4 but then they’re not converting any of it to T3?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Dr. Ben House: All the thyroid hormones are bound up. Like are they on—which is to me—like I see it constantly like if I take on a female client. I’m like, “Oh, your thyroid hormone is bind up, are you on birth control?” “Yeah.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Ben House: There it is, right? It upregulates thyroid body globulin.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right. Uptake. Uh-hmm.

Dr. Ben House: One of the ways that we know—we know that testosterone increases lean mass and metabolism is that it dominates your thyroid binding globulin. So—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. Yeah. Makes sense. You see that in PCOS, right?

Dr. Ben House: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Exactly. So we got the thyroid. What are you looking at for protein digestion? Are you looking at globulin, creatinine, serum protein, albumin? What are you looking at?

Dr. Ben House: Uh—so yeah I think total protein and globulins are soft markers for—I always think of them as like check engine lights. They’re not like end-all be-all.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Uh-hmm.

Dr. Ben House: But if I see them low, “Oh my god, let’s keep some work add on that situation.” Uhm—and then kidney markers—In athletes, like this is like—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Bone creatinine.

Dr. Ben House: Oh my god, this is like—I love talking about this because that—does can actually—kidney markers are essentially useless, right, in athlete. Because blood urine nitrogen is the breakdown of protein products.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Dr. Ben House: So if you’re in a Ketone, high protein diet, you’ve already—you’ve knocked that up. Now creatinine is indirect measure of muscle mass. So if I have a jacked gorilla who’s in a ton of protein, he’s automatically gonna have a GFR that’s probably pretty screwed up. But his kidney function maybe fine. Uh—so the best marker there is statin C. And so if someone is super worried about their kidney function, I’ll run that coz that’s not affected by protein intake or muscle mass.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Statin C for the kidney?

Dr. Ben House: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay. Yeah. Yeah. And I’m not seeing patients that are at the same level as you know, being an athlete but I do try to keep them 48 hours away from strenuous workout so you don’t get those false positives.

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. I do that as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Uhm—but the re—it’s all individual. So they’ve done studies, it can be 10 days that you’ll see like liver enzyme’s high, bilirubin high. So you can—you can see those things. It all depends, some people get back in 48 hours and obviously we can’t tell people not to train for 10 days. Uhm—that’s not gonna work.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right. Right.

Dr. Ben House: We won’t do that. But I think 48 hours and making sure that their hydration is really, really solid.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. And do you think muscle soreness would also be a pretty—pretty good subjective indicator? Making sure that they’re not incredibly sore or like in pain or you know, hurting from the workout?

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. I think it’s probably good from an inflammatory standpoint.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: You’re gonna—with CRP, you’re gonna see an acute rise with exercise and that is a positive in that overtime. Uhm—I—I hate muscle soreness like it’s— maybe—I don’t know if we have research to say that. It’s such a subjective indicator.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Totally.

Dr. Ben House: And it’s so variable.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. Is there anything else you wanna let the listeners know? Anything else on your health pocket that you’re kind of researching or on top of mind?

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. I think we can kinda get lost in kind of the little things, right And so—just make—I see a lot of people that are, you know, worried about something regarding their health.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Dr. Ben House: And that—that’s probably not good. If you are incessantly worrying about your health, that—that’s a problem.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Ben House: I saw, you know, a lot of type A people that come to functional med and so one of our jobs is like, “Hey, like, you’re not gonna die.” Like—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: This is okay. Like—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s alright.

Dr. Ben House: You have a homocysteine of 9, you’re not gonna get killed tomorrow. There’s things that we can do.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: Let’s do all the things. So I’d say focus on the effort—not necessarily— always focus on effort. Uhm—and that’s my biggest thing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. And who is your ideal patient? Coz I know you made the switch from the athletic world to the functional medicine world now. You had your experience with your dad with the celiac thing. So you have some autoimmune experience. Who is your ideal patient? Someone who wanna come to see you?

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. My ideal patient is a male, any—any age range, uh—but probably a male that just wants to look good, feel good, look good naked, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: That’s my prototypical client. Uhm—and then, anyone is free to email me, obviously. And like I have—I get crazy emails like, “Hey, I have a—I have a tumor in my hypothalamus. Can you help me out? And no, I can’t but uhm—let me—let me refer you out to someone who might be able to reboot your entire endocrine system.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. So functionalmedicinecostarica.com ,right?

Dr. Ben House: Yeah. That’s the website.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Love it, man. Very cool. Anything else?

Dr. Ben House: Thank you for all that you do. And just uh—just putting out there information that we all have—we all have our mediums. And you do a really good job in just finding awesome people and interviewing them. And—and letting them tell story. So thank you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right. I appreciate it, Dr. Ben. I appreciate it. And the last question for you, if you’re on a dessert island, you can only choose one supplement, one herb, one nutrient, what is it?

Dr. Ben House: Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Haha—

Dr. Ben House: I’m gonna pick magnesium.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Magnesium. Okay. Alright.

Dr. Ben House: I’m probably get—If I will get a multi, I’m gonna—I mean—If I’m training on this island, uhm—maybe a protein supplement if I can’t find enough meat.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Ben House: But uh—yeah definitely—I mean most athletes are deficient in magnesium. It’s—if you give an athlete magnesium, and they’re deficient and like, they’re gonna feel a lot better. Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Awesome, my man. Well, thank you for that great feedback. Doctor House in the house. You can see him at functionalmedicinecostarica.com

Dr. Ben House, I appreciate you being on the show.

Dr. Ben House: Thank you, sir. Have a great day.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You too. Take care.


References:

functionalmedicinecostarica.com

Documentary on The Disappearing Male

Tripping Over the Truth by Travis Christofferson

Breaking the Viscious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall

 

Aaron Alexander- Get your body back in balance – Podcast #103

Dr. Justin Marchegiani interviews Aaron Alexander about movement patterns and our physical structures. They talked about having power and purpose and being mindful and knowing what you’re doing, therefore, obtaining a sense of satisfaction. 

Aaron AlexanderThey also touch upon considering the looseness of your clothing so it doesn’t restrict movement, integrating the sound of movement into daily practice, and how feeling good about yourself can decrease cortisol and stress hormones. This discussion includes things like diet and sleep, as well as the top dysfunctional movement patterns that most people have. Listen to this podcast as Aaron walks us through on how to do a proper squat and how you should wield your breath during movements.

In this episode, topics include:

03:15   Posture

12:54   Movement potential

17:08   Diet and sleep

19:10   Movement patterns

28:02   Breath

 

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Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Hey, there! It’s Dr. Justin. Welcome back to Beyond Wellness Radio. We got my good friend here, Aaron Alexander. Aaron, I saw you just a few months ago over at Paleo f(x). It was great seeing you in person again. How you doin’?

Aaron Alexander:  I’m doin’ super, man. How are you doin’?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Doin’ great, can’t complain. It was just your birthday like a week and a half ago.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So happy belated birthday!

Aaron Alexander:  Thank you, brother. Appreciate it!

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Very cool. So what’s new in your neck of the woods? I know you been—we talked last time you did a demo over at Paleo f(x) and you were doing a lot of stuff with movement based off. I wanna talk a little bit more about kinda what you’re doin’ with your clients and—and what are you seeing in your practice? Because you’re actually one of these people out there that blogs and does videos but you’re actually clinically rolling up the sleeves and getting in there with your patients. So what are you doing? What are you seeing?

Aaron Alexander:  Well, first of all, thanks for having me on. I always love getting to chat with you and about what I’m–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Same here.

Aaron Alexander:  What I’m seeing with people—the main thing is a lot of consistent patterns which is interesting–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:   You know? And this is something that I know everybody is talking about, you know, but like modernity is folding us forward into this–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:   Medial rotation, protraction, head forward–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:   Hyperkypho—all these anatomical terminology for it’s depressing us.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  It–it’s folding our society into this position of literal depression, and you can say that from an anatomical perspective or just more like an emotional perspective, but I think that there is a balance between that. And what I am witnessing is people that are stuck in these positions being hunched over a computer or hunched over in a bus–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  Or in their bucket seats in their cars, whatever it is–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Aaron Alexander:  It’s affecting the way people are feeling and then we end up responding with looking for—seeking some type of pharmaceutical answer, you know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Medicalizing every aspect of like what it means to just feel the way you feel in the day and then going out, seeking some placebo or some type of pharmaceutical drug to solve these problems that–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Maybe we could potentially knock on the other end, which is our physical structure might be causing these feelings of general down-ness.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  You know? And so that’s been–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  The big thing that I’ve been dancing with—with folks in general is this feeling of like, you know, I have this shoulder thing, I have this hip thing, I have this knee  thing and generally, my energy is not real great. You know? And then you look at them and from like a body language perspective, you’re like, “Yeah, of course.” You know’?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  How could you expect to feel great when you’re collapsing at the knee, collapsing at the hip, collapsing at the spine, whatever it is. And that’s kind of the thing that I’m—I‘m the most inspired by right now, is those—those connections there.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it. How many patients are you seeing in a day?

Aaron Alexander:  4 generally in a day. So not a ton. It’s and that’s–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And you’re working longer? Like hour—hour and a half sessions?

Aaron Alexander:  Yes, sir, yes. So I have 70 minutes, 75 minutes with people which is wonderful because we can talk and we can hang out and we can come in and we can kind of you know, do the dog thing and smell each other out and kind of feel–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah. Love it.

Aaron Alexander:  What makes sense, as opposed to just jumping in and saying diagnose, I got 6 minutes, okay, here’s the thing, like it doesn’t even matter what else is going on. We gotta–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Find the diagnosis and we gotta—we gotta prescribe and we gotta work this. Instead, we can kind of dance in other realms which I greatly–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Appreciate.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s great and I know you talk a lot about posture and I work with a lot of patients with gut issues and hormone issues and it’s interesting because Amy Cuddy did a study over at Harvard and you’re probably familiar with this study–

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  On different poses and one of the things she had was the power pose, which is like hands on the hips, or I think the—the Wonder Woman pose so to speak.

Aaron Alexander:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And then also the hands up in the air, reaching up kinda like Rocky coming up to the top of the steps in Philadelphia there–

Aaron Alexander:  Sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And those different poses improved anabolic hormones whether it was testosterone in men and also decreased cortisol as well which is a stress hormone. So posture like you can actually manipulate in a good way someone’s hormones by just getting them standing and sitting and moving better. So if people think like you know, we got this major split between like physical medicine and then like metabolic or hormonal medicine, really they are blended 100%.

Aaron Alexander:  Right. Yeah, absolutely. And it’s—and then going even beyond that, now it’s finally and I so greatly appreciate that Ted Talk and you know, Amy’s books and all that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And it’s finally coming to the forefront that wow, our movement affects the way that we feel.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Aaron Alexander:  You know and so standing if you look at blind people, anybody, when they win, they win the same way! Hands up–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Aaron Alexander:  They’re excited.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Aaron Alexander:  Right? And when you do that–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You open up the spine, you open up the pericardium, the heart and all the organ tissue. Open up the brachioplexus, you know, putting our hands up over our head is something that most people literally don’t do in our culture.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Unless you’re a gymnast or a rock climber or you know have some bleach in like a high cabinet or something, we just don’t do it. You know, and that is––

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  The archetypal position of success, of winning, you know? And that’s the conversion of that is your body reading those patterns as “Alright, cool!”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Dr. Justin’s doing good.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Let’s boost him up with some serotonin or dopamine.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Or you know, reduce the cortisol or increase the testosterone. Whatever it is, it’s all different languages, different vernacular to explain the same thing that’s happening. It’s just different dogmas explaining different things.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Love it. Love it.

Aaron Alexander:  Does that make sense?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm. 100%. So I’m a new patient. I’m walking in. Let’s say I have back pain or should pain. Like what’s the initial encounter like? So you obviously you’re doing a workup–

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Are you doing a full physical exam? Do you do kinesiological testing? Seeing where muscles are turned on or turned off. Do you do like different plum line things to look at posture assessment? What does that look like? I’m a new patient.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Walk me through it.

Aaron Alexander:  First thing we come in and figure out why you’re here. Usually by the time you make it to somebody like me, you know–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  The structural integration or–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, the Rolf technique or things like that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Aaron Alexander:  It’s like you’ve been to a lot of –

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  People.

Aaron Alexander:  People, you know and you’ve heard like, “Oh, maybe that Rolfing thing, I’ve heard that’s pretty effective,” you know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And it’s like by the time people get here, they’ve been through the gauntlet.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And so it’s getting an understanding of what’s going on, you know? And so first—first things first is just kinda just talking and kind of uncovering that why of what’s going on there. Beyond that, the most important is watching people walk in, you know? And that’s something that a lot of I think, you know, doctors or any practitioners in general may miss. The good ones don’t. You know? When you’re seeing–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  When you’re seeing the most genuine expression of that person is before they come in and say, “Okay, here’s what’s going on.” It’s when they first walk in and you could see that body language, or you could kinda see how they walked in from the car. That’s when the session really starts for me. And then as the—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  As we start to go we go for a walk. And we—I have a nice long office which you’re in right now, you can see–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, and so we go for walk and we watch what’s their gait patterns, you know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Or as—do they have or they kind of—are they stuck up in the hip? Are the pronated in the foot? Are they not able to get any range of motion through the shoulder girdles? You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

 

Aaron Alexander:  And so we just start slowly parsing out these parts–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Of the body and seeing what parts are really lagging here. You know? Because the body is gonna be limited by whatever the greatest lag is.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  So if I inj—if I stub my big toe, all of a sudden I’m limping which means I can’t get hip extension. If I can’t get hip extension, I’m not gonna get that rotation through the spine. I’m not gonna get that same extension through the shoulder and now my whole body is frozen–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Up to the degree of that original restriction. So it’s really just like peeling onion layers back and then as we’re going I’m always really curious about how they think and how they feel and what’s going on their life because I—I know that affects their physical structure and that’s, you know, interesting question ask.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it. So when you treat someone, are you treating them every day? Is it an every kinda 2 or 3 x a week kinda thing? What’s the typical treatment protocol when someone comes in?

Aaron Alexander:  I like weekly. You know? Week—weekly, it’s kinda like we’re on the same bus–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And we—we know where we’re going and when you have that like 2 months in between them, like what was your name? What was you got that­–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Spine thing, what’s that? You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  But when we have—when we set up a goal that’s the big thing. You know, and so much of the work–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  That we do as any practitioner is placebo. You know? Ooohh. I know like the secret’s out. You know, the more that someone believes that you are the Shaman healer, you are the doctor healer–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You are the fill-in-the-blank healer, the more their own healing potentials, the greater they become.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, and so if we come in and we said, “Okay, here’s why we’re here. Here’s what we’re doing. Here’s how we’re gonna there. I believe this can happen.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  If you can get into that point, then all of the sudden, wow, we’re activating all of the client/patient’s own healing mechanisms. And then all of the other stuff comes in that’s really helpful, like the herbs and the movement and all that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  But if we can get the client/patient to believe, that’s a really big deal. But that’s kind of–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  That’s kind of a gray area for a lot of people because it’s hard to pin that down.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  I’m curious of what you’re opinion on that actually.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, yeah, I mean I think belief is really important. I think a lot people that—that have seen people like me and you—I was doing a lot of physical work for many years in my office in California, and you’d never saw these people first, right? They’d always—typically, it’s seeing a conventional physician many times. Maybe they went to the whole, corti—or you know, the whole cortisone-prednisone injection kinda thing to help reduce inflammation, maybe they’re on chronic NSAIDs and other anti-inflammatory meds that kind of rip up their gut and their liver, so then you’re kinda getting this person in who’s more broken than they were when they originally had this issue maybe years’ back. So you always wish you can get them on the forefront. But getting them to really understand like I’m a big fan or like what’s the mechanism? Why are you feeling this way? So let’s drive it back to dial. Let’s drive it back to lifestyle. Let’s drive it back to how you sit all day, how you move, you know, the so-called stinking thinking, all these different things and really have a holistic approach and I think you do that very similar to what I was doing when I was doing more of the physical work in the clinic as well.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah. Have you ever heard of the Chambermaid study done by Ellen Langer back in the, I think 70s or maybe early 80s?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I have not. Please share.

Aaron Alexander:  Oh, it’s so cool. So—so I just had Ellen on the podcast recently and so I have like all—all savvy and all of her studies now but she—the Chambermaid study was she took 2 different groups of people. They were both chambermaids, so they’re cleaning up chambers.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  They’re cleaning up, you know, what are rooms. And what they felt was with the one group, what they did is they educated them upon—okay, do you realize that–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  As you’re working throughout the day–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  You are exercising, man. You are burning calories. When you’re bent over, you’re doing dead lifts and you’re reaching up and getting all this shoulder flexion like you are working it out, girl.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Like this is—you are killing it. And then the other group, they didn’t give them that information. And what they ended up doing is they ended up taking some—some various different, I forget exactly what—what they were—we she was like measuring blood pressure–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And measuring hormones and this and that, and what they found through that was the group that was told that they were exercising and moving and doing something good, every indicator of health ended up going up, they ended up losing body fat. They ended up burning more calories. You know, is—it’s just very interesting again when you start getting into that mindfulness component of how I move throughout the day and move throughout the world, how much that actually affects—again, I think comes back to the placebo effect, you know, activating your own healing potential. When you are moving through the world with intention and believing I can do it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  It makes a really big change, you know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And it’s—it’s instilling those practices into how do I get out of my car. How do I get in my car? How do I chop my vegetables? How do I go for a walk? What’s every step? Did I nail every step of my walk? You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Or did I just kind of aimlessly, mindlessly move through the day and then you know, ate a big burrito before I went to bed and fell asleep and did it all over again. You know, it’s just like, it’s just tapping into those little subtle things I think can make a really big difference. So I was kind of a side track, I apologize for that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  No, I think it’s—I think it’s really important to have power and purpose, right? I think it’s—it’s important that you’re—you’re mindful and you know what you’re doing and again, you feel a sense of satisfaction for it and through it.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It makes a lot of sense.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And also you’ve talked about, you know, the whole purpose thing, right? Purposely moving. I imagine a lot of the movements that you’re doing—you give a lot of your self-care, too, at home, correct?

Aaron Alexander:  Absolutely, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Now imagine a lot of the movement probably have a—a direct carryover into what they’re doing every day in their daily life. I guess today I was with my wife. We were working out and we were doing like one-legged dead lift with rows and we were doing these movements and I was just talking to my wife saying, “Hey, you know, imagine like pulling the groceries out of the backseat of the car with this turn and twist and bend.”

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It’s like we’re choosing movements in the gym or you know, in the clinic that have a direct carryover to our life, so when you work out, it’s like you’re not just working out to get these muscle bigger so you look good naked frankly.

Aaron Alexander:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You’re—wanna have that carryover so you can do silly things like getting the groceries or picking your kids and putting them in their car seat. You wanna have that task be easier.

Aaron Alexander:  Right. And that’s, you know, the truth be told, like I’d—that’s high up in my agenda list is to look damn good naked, and that’s the important thing is that when you go through these full, sometimes a little bit, more abstract movement practices like dance, you know, imagine that? You start getting into all these nooks and crannies of your joints and your musculature that you may have been moving in the gym doing your bicep curls, doing your tricep kickback extensions, whatevers—and you’re still sedentary because you’re not exploring the full–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Movement potential of your body, you know? And so it’s—it’s recognizing that it’s not about the—you know, the 45 minutes of actually doing the exercise a day. It’s how did you enter into that exercise. How did you exit out of that exercise and what happened in between? You know, and you can look at this from a like a musical perspective, you know, it’s like looking for the music between the music. It’s not just the eeeeee, like wow, cool, that was a great sound.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  How was the transition to the aaahhh, ooohhh, eeeee—that is the same thing throughout our movement experience. If you have a big clunky movement when you’re sitting down–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Or getting up out of a chair, that’s eeee, oooor, mmmm, errrr, ooohhh. That was how that sounded. Right? So we need to figure out how do we integrate the sound of movement if this is a metaphor into our daily practice so that you are always singing a beautiful song with your body, right? There’s a quote by–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  By somebody, I—I don’t know who this was, but life should be a work of art because anything else would be tragic. And I couldn’t agree more. You know, but having that vision for, yeah, like I’m—I want mastery, you know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely.

Aaron Alexander:  That’s okay. I don’t need to just accept normalcy. I don’t need to just fit in. I can go bigger than that, right? I want to really—I want—I wanna master this thing. You know, I’m never going to but I think that goal is important.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, that makes sense. And it’s so funny because you’re so animated as you talk so everyone’s gotta listen to this interview and watch the YouTube version, so they can do get in dir—in depth personal perspective plus I mean, you give David Hasselhoff a run for your money. You show that massive amount of chest hair popping out of your shirt. And I couldn’t believe it, you do it in real life, too, when this mention this, great, man. I’m a little jealous.

Aaron Alexander:  I just want be—I just wanna keep it loose. I like loose clothing. You know, that’s another thing that’s interesting. It’s thinking the looseness of your clothing. If you’re wearing clothing that’s restricting your physical movement–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Then you’re—you’re choosing, you’re paying $100 to restrict the range of motion in your hips. If you can do a full third-world squat, aka a squat, a human squat in your pants, they’re trash. It’s like there’s no reason to volunteer to restrict yourself and put yourself inside of that box, and I feel the same way with any type of clothes. Same in—interesting thing is well, like, thinking about the colors of clothing that you wear. You know? There’s a reason that we wear everything that we do. You know? There’s a reason we say everything we do. There’s a reason we listen to music that we do. And I suggest tapping into those subtle aspect of yourself because I think sometimes the work of you know, making your body, you know, getting yourself out of pain, whether it be–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Physical or emotional, whatever it is. Sometimes we get so wrapped when the mountain, you know, Mt. Everest, we gotta climb the mountain–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And get the pain, get it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Sometimes, what if you reorganized your wardrobe a little bit?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  What if you felt more confident as you walked around the world because you really like your clothes?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  What if you felt more confident as you walk into your house because–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You organized the way things are in there? You opened up space. Every time that activates a certain feeling inside of yourself that you take into your work, you take into your relationships.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  All of the sudden, cortisol and all stress hormones start reducing a little bit–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Because you feel better about yourself. You know? We—we try to tackle these big mountains because they’re more obvious but sometimes some of those roundabout, more subtle objectives can start pulling the string a little bit so that all of the sudden, we get to the mountain top but we didn’t even realize that we climbed it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right. Now how do you start? Because you’re—you’re hitting things from a lot of perspectives here. So how do you intermingle some of the dietary shifts and changes–

Aaron Alexander:  Honestly–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  With your patients?

Aaron Alexander:  Honestly, I—I try to not be jack of all trades.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  If there was some nutrition or something that I—if people ask me, then I have opinions and it–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  But the opinion is it should natural. It should come out of the ground. If it’s, you know, if it—if it’s not processed, if it doesn’t have any artificial anything–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Your body probably does an okay job with it. You know? And then I’m in—I’m into higher fat and lower carbohydrate and all that–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Just because for me it makes me feel more mentally clear, but I’m not an expert in that realm in any way, you know, but–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  But do you look at a lot of, like inflammatory things in people because we know inflammation drives maybe cortisol and tissue breakdown so you’re looking at inflammatory things that are maybe present in their diet?

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Grains and such?

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, no, absolutely. And that’s—and that’s one of things again, because I have 75 minutes with people in—in a one-on-one session–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  We end up becoming kinda friends in a way.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You’re still maintaining, you know, the relationship–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  The practitioner and client, but we talk about—we could talk about anything, you know? And that’s one of the big things. Sleep is the main thing and I’ll ask that almost immediately. Like how’s your sleep?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, because if you–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  If you’re not able to repair your physical tissues, your sleeping—then good luck with anything else. What are we doing here?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, and then from there, again, are you eating simple processed sugar? Are you eating you know, anything, you know, the grains and the things that are gonna cause these inflammatory responses? If we’re working against inflammation, it’s just grab the low hanging fruit first.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And that’s exactly, I mean that’s a great point of thinking about the nutrition thing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Thinking about all these subtle little parts that make up you. It doesn’t just need to be great, my back hurts, let’s get an elbow in your T-spine. You know, that’s very direct, but there’s—there’s a lot of different strings that we can pull–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  And nutrition’s one of them, but I don’t claim to be the man in nutrition. I just eat—eat raw, eat healthy, eat organic, eat food like that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah. Yeah, and so you’re seeing a lot of different patients, just walk me through like the Top 3 movement patterns that you are seeing that are dysfunctional.

Aaron Alexander:  Sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Alright, whether it’s—whether it’s excessive, you know, flexion or—or weakness in the extension muscles, glutes, you know, rhomboids, those things. What are those movement patterns that you are seeing that are dysfunctional? And then what are like the Top 3 exercises you’re using to help correct those movement patterns?

Aaron Alexander:  Well, if you have one dysfunctional movement pattern in that body, then you have that dysfunctional movement pattern we’ll end up spiraling through–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  The rest of it. That’s Tensegrity, Buckminster Fuller 101–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Aaron Alexander:  You know? And that’s like–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  So we could say we’ll just start at the feet and say collapsed arches or pronated feet, you know? And from there, you’re gonna have, and that’s essentially like the duck feet walk thing, where you have, you know, the navicular bone and all the—the architecture of the foot is just spoiled collapsed from the floor. It’s not sexy to look at, you know? And so something from there, you could say, “Okay, well, it’s the pronated feet, or it’s the valgus knees.” Because the knees, then gonna drop in from there, right? Or you can get–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  The chain goes all the way up.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  So we could just start with that and with that, squats, dead lifts, really simple. You know, if you can—if you figure out how do I screw my feet into the ground? So as you’re standing in an upright position, I was standing on the foam over there. Get off the foam, bro. As you’re standing with your feet on the ground there, just screw your feet into an externally rotated position and what you’ll see is you’ll see the tent that is the architecture of your foot come up.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  It’s beautiful. It’s a beautiful thing. And then from there, it’s practicing that movement. And as you’re doing that, you’re also getting that external rotation in the hip, which takes any slack out of the hip girdle. Now you’re creating this maximal torque ability or power capacity in your body, just by standing and engaging the glutes, screwing the feet in, going into that external rotated position. Keeping your–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Would you mind—that’s great. Would you mind just like giving us a quick demo of a squat and just walk us through all of the key movement steps, or the key milestones in that squat? It’d be great.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah. So starting off, so something you—you see this all around the world. People carrying you know whatever it may be, a jug of water up on their head.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  So you can see that connection, and this is something I’ll do it with—with folks all the time, is just give them a little push now on their head or on their shoulders, and see if you’re able to feel that compression directly, poof, down into the feet, you’re doing a great job. You’re not—you’re not metaphorically spilling energy all over the floor. Any time that your hip is cock-eyed or your spine is folded over, whatever it is, and you push down through that, if you break at that point, you are asking for injury and you’re just dumping power that you could have had. So that’s the first thing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Figure out are you stacked all the way up.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Stacked—exactly.

Aaron Alexander:  And then from there, it’s figuring are you utilizing the strongest hinge in your whole entire body being your hip hinge.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup, yup.

Aaron Alexander:  Right? And so while maintain that stack, people can do this right now at home. Just take your hands and put them right underneath those bony things in your pelvis called the anterior–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Superior iliac spine if you–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  If you wanna say that word.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  ASIS.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, that one.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  And so from there—from there, just starting to hinge your butt back in the kind of joking manner for that—I use that as—imagine you have probes on your butt cheeks and they are exploring the world behind you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Love it.

Aaron Alexander:  Right? So they’re real curious about the room behind you–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And you’re hinging back. As you’re doing this to make sure that you’re adequately exploring with those—with those butt probes. If you’re knees are going in front of your toes when you look down, if you can’t see your toes, you’re screwing up. Your butt needs–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  To go back more. You don’t wanna allow your knees to go forward in front of that. Unless you’re dancing or doing something silly. If you’re loading and you want the most functional, strongest squat you can do, knees gotta stay back. And then from there, to activate the glutes and keep in—and—and clean up that knee stuff, clean up that foot stuff, there comes in the screwing the feet into the ground, right? So imagine keeping the feet pinned straight ahead and then pushing the knees out wide. Something you could do is get band, put that band around your knees and try to–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Aaron Alexander:  Break that band with your knees and you’ll feel is something maybe you haven’t felt for a long, long time is your glutes really engaging.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  And if you can really truly engage that hip hinge and that whole, all the musculature round, around the hip girdle, then you’re starting to cook with—with fire or grease or whatever that—that phrase is.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  But you’re finally starting to move well. But until you really start activating the full potential of that, you’re probably gonna get hurt and you’re not gonna get close to what you could have had with your body. It’s—it’s crucially important.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I love the example of the butt probes. Your butt’s exploring. I love it. That’s great. One of the biggest things when I was working with a lot of people on the physical rehab piece was they get in their squat position, like you know, hip shoulder width, maybe toes 10°, 15° turned out.

Aaron Alexander:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  One of the key points was I always found that having just maybe a 5° or 10° bend on the knees, allow the hips to unlock so you could so call take those probes–

Aaron Alexander:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And—and explore a little and drive those hips backwards. I found that if those knees were locked, the first movement was a break in the knees which is that not so good thing unless you’re doing some dancing or something.

Aaron Alexander:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And it basically froze up that hip joint from allowing it to kinda move backwards and explore so to speak.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah. Imagine that. If you freeze one aspect of the body, everything else freezes, right? You know, so if you–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Totally makes sense.

 

Aaron Alexander:  If you stay loose and nimble on every joint or any joint, then all of the sudden, the other joints start following suit. The same way if that if you drop and pronate the foot, then the knee follows and the hip follows and the spine follows, et cetera, et cetera. Right? So it’s—it’s just, you know, it’s a fractal image. You know, everything is relating to everything else and it comes back to Tensegrity. It all comes back to—I have that little, little—you can hear it, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know? So if I push this little purple dot on the Tensegrity model–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It affects everything.

Aaron Alexander:  Everything else has to move–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Everything moves.

Aaron Alexander:  With that. And then the thing that we were talking about earlier which might not be, you know, so valuable because it does kinda go out into little bit more—more metaplace but I think the Tensegrity goes into the way that we feel emotionally as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Because I think that our physical body is representation of how we are feeling and I don’t think there is a separation between mind and body, but that’s, you know–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  That’s—to each his own with that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, I mean, I think everyone knows how good they feel after a workout. There’s a reason why–

Aaron Alexander:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  They feel that way.

Aaron Alexander:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  From a hormone perspective, from a neurotransmitter perspective, beta endorphin—that’s a natural anti-depressant. Also just the fact that our brain is just like muscle like, right? We need muscle. We need movement and resistance, same with the calcium deposits in our bone. We need that force. Same thing with our brain. That sensory cortex where all information is interpreted and the motor cortex that goes out and talks to the muscles to elicit movement, we need stimulation. We need to do it and that—everyone knows they feel better after a good workout, right?

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, and something that people can throw in again, more like actionable tips that people can utilize is peripheral vision. You know, right now, are you staring at your cellphone? Or you know, are you staring at whatever it is, the red light in the road if you’re in your car?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, like what’s happening with that puppy walking beside you there?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Can you kind of—can you get a peripheral vision of that? Can you try and take in the whole entire vision of the road in front of you? And what that’s–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Gonna do is again it’s gonna relax your brain. You’re starting to use different aspect as opposed to that just pre-frontal analytical, you know, frontal cortex business, which is important, you know, that’s why we have space ships, you know? But we—that we can go beyond that and get into things again like dance, like music, like you know, sexuality, you know, there’s all these things that starts to get us into a broader usage of our bodies and our minds, but our culture doesn’t praise that the way that some other cultures do.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, you go to some other cultures, spend some time in Senegal or West Africa, and drumming and dancing is a crucial part of the culture. It’s not just a hobby pastime; it is a crucial part of the culture, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  You know? And then there’s—there’s a study I was reading recently in relation to which—like is like duh—you know, drumming increase DHEA and decrease cortisol levels and increases natural killer cells, and like all this stuff, yeah, of course. You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Anything you si—you shine your scientific flashlight on of health indicators, if you’re doing something healthy like dancing or singing or playing sport or whatever it is, they’re gonna go up. You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And we have all these different way of analyzing these things and again, getting sometimes consumed in this analytical frontal cortex stuff but I think if we can kind of let go of some of that, peel some of those layers back, and just get lost in the experience. That’s what Steven Kotler calls Flow and like everyone else–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Calls Flow now.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know? And that’s one of the highest indicators of happiness in your life. How much Flow did you have?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right?

Aaron Alexander:  You know, that’s—I think it’s quite important.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Very cool. So went over some Flow stuff, I like it. You went over the—the squat—I think you did a great job explaining that. What’s that next movement? You said a dead lift. So—and we didn’t actually touch upon the breath.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So how important for you is the breath during the movement? I mean, some movements you may want to hold that breath and create intraabdominal pressure to create more support, some you may want to breathe through it, and use the, you know, inspiration to help, you know, activate the thoracolumbar far—fascia to help pick you up and then bend you when you go into flexion. What’s your philosophy on breath during movement?

Aaron Alexander:  It’s great. You know, so—so breath there is—it’s your best tool, man.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, there is nothing—there’s nothing that’s gonna progress you faster than understanding how to wield your breath and that’s again–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Aaron Alexander:  Something we’re not educated on because our teachers–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  Don’t understand it. You know, most sch—most teachers in school, it’s not something we talk about in our culture again. So you come out kinda just like, you know, you have all these amazing potential tools and we just never get educated on how to use them. You know, but there’s something for example with—with like dead lifting or you know, say punching or kicking. There’s one term you can call the Valsalva maneuver which is again–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Aaron Alexander:  Creating that intraabdominal pressure. Right? So as you’re going down to “hummph”, take that big lift, you’re gonna fill up your thoracic cavity and fill up your lungs and really take up all that space with your breath and then “hummph”,  hold that in as you’re going through the most challenging portion of the lift. And what that’s gonna do is it’s gonna turn you into a little compression chamber which doesn’t leak power.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  When we have loose wobbly joints, you’re dangerous. First of all, you need to learn how to drive your car, right? If you don’t–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  If you don’t understand how to drive this vehicle, you’re dangerous for yourself and everyone around you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, but that’s one of the big things is—is starting to flex that intraabdominal pressure ability that we all have. And that’s what—that’s—that’s you know, just look up Valsalva maneuver and you can see, you know, millions of videos on YouTube exactly what that is but you’ll see that as well as you’re throwing a punch, as you’re throwing a kick, as you’re swinging a bat and a baseball, anything that it is. Stuart McGill, Dr. Stuart McGill, great–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Great guy, he calls it the double pulse, right? And so it’s—you take—you make the initial, you turn your body into stone he says, you know, for the initial contraction and then you loosen for a second, say you’re gonna throw a punch. You’re planting, turn into stone, throw in the punch, turn into a whip for a second, and then upon contact you’re stone again. Right? And what–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  That is, is the ability when you see someone, you know, in martial arts, the “huuuh”, when you see somebody playing tennis, “fwaah”, they’re just creating that intraabdominal pressure which ends up–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Strengthening their whole entire body and then the opposite is true with relaxation.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, so–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And then for every–exactly–and then for everyone listening, what Aaron is talking about regarding the whole Valsalva, that’s either you’re taking in oxygen either through your nose or your mouth and you’re either bracing the core–

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Or you’re hollowing by sucking the belly button and do you have–do you have a preference to either one? Do you like the bracing where you’re making the abs hard, or are you like the hallowing where you’re bringing the belly button and then activating the TVA more?

Aaron Alexander:  No, I don’t–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Which is the transverse abdominis, that’s like the natural weightlifting belt–

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That we have around our tummy.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah. I don’t—I don’t do any bringing of the belly button in so much unless I’m doing some type of yoga type activity.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So more bracing for you?

Aaron Alexander:  It’s all bracing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Okay.

Aaron Alexander:  Because I—I want—I want to turn into a—a catapult essentially. You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it.

Aaron Alexander:  And so—and so if I’m—whatever it is, if you’re running, jumping, kicking, whatever it may be, I find it the most effective to be able to embrace the ability to open for a second, that whip position, and then brace and then come in hard.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, and if you can have that combination, then you’re—you’re really starting to be an effective mover, right? But with—with the hallowing and bringing the belly button in and activating the transverse abdominis and all that, I find that to be—I think that if you’re really concentrating on activating your transverse abdominis, more than likely than not, you’re probably missing it. You know–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Like transverse abdominis often times is—often times and most—most always for sure, is something that happens as a product of moving well. It doesn’t happen as a product of searching for it and finding it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, it’s when you—when you’re able to, you know, do that dance move effectively whatever it is, TVA is activating. I guarantee you. Anytime your brain–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Is moving effectively, it’s activating, I guarantee it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  But if you slow down, it’s like where are you transverse abdominis? It’s weird.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right. And a lot of—and there have been studies, too, where they hook up electrodes to the various back muscles and the core muscles and they have someone let’s say move their arm–

Aaron Alexander:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  But the figured out that the—the back stabilizers and the core stabilizers are activating about I think maybe 10 milliseconds before the actual core movement.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, I’ve seen that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So a lot of people when they have dysfunction in the core, in the back, in the front of the abdomen that that timing is off, and then essentially you’re like firing a cannon from a canoe.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, I love that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Where you miss that stabilization and then the movement will be basically you’re riding on ligaments and tendons versus musculature that’ll support you.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah. Yeah, so something that I’ve, you know, something that I think might be helpful to clear some things up with the core. Think of the core not as much of a place, but an event. Right? So core is–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Mmm.

Aaron Alexander:  That sequencing. Right? When Mike Tyson throws a punch, his core is coming from his fist down to his foot turning in, right? You know, and so that connection. The electricity all the way through your body, through that airtight compressed system that now is–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  POW, turn into stone as—on impact. That’s core, right? If we start thinking breaking down and isolating core into leg raises and crunches, and you know, you’re break—reducing the whole down into parts and when it comes down to be an athlete or you know, just a successful human being in general. If you’re juggling, you know, 450 parts of your body, it’s—it’s too complicated. You’re not gonna be able to get it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You know? So if you—if you can come back and think, wow, I have one body, right? My bicep brachialis is attached to the flexor digit blah blah blah, you know, as you’re coming through that, that isolation, it’s only textbooks that break that down and a cadaver, when you cut away all the connective tissue and the white stuff—I used to call it packing peanuts, you know? It’s like, oh, let’s get the fascia out of there so we can really get into the meat, you know? The muscle belly. You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  It’s like, no. No, that’s—that’s not the way a living body works.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  But we’ve been duped because that’s the—that’s the textbooks that we study. We study dead bodies.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  We don’t study living organisms, right? So breaking out of that dead body paradigm, and—and dropping into what is full expressive movement as I’m just walking through the world, what muscle am I using right now as I’m talking to you? All of them.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, but that’s not as easy to break down on a textbook.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  That’s—that’s the issue is we—we’ve gotten duped I think.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Interesting. I think I see some of your Rolfing, your Thomas Myers type of philosophy coming in there with the whole connective tissue and your fascial planes.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. And that’s simple. Yeah, you know, and that’s—by changing that perspective on the way that our bodies work in general, that will change your movement practice. You know, if you believe that you are a broke down, you know, Newtonian model of levers and pulleys then that’s probably how you’ll exercise because that’s the most effective–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Way to do it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  But if all of a sudden you start thinking, what about jumping? You know, how do I jump? Really high and land really softly and really effectively? To do that, if you get wrapped up in the individual joints and there have been studies in relation to this as well that when you—when you—there I think it was bicep curl, I think it was what it was, and they had some, you know, EMGs connected up to the thighs–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  He was doing the bicep curl and fact check me on this, I’m pretty sure it was bicep—and what they found was they had one guy, they had them focus on the joint and focus on the muscle and really focus on just the parts that are happening, and then they had another guy say, just pull that son of a gun up there, just get it—the weight from down low, get it up there, I want it up on your shoulder. And that’s it and what they found was the guy that just focused on the end game, focused on the result, not only was it easier, he was using less—less—took him less electricity to make it happen essentially, but he was stronger, right? And the other guy was–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Full flamed up and he wasn’t able to pick up as much weight, right? So it’s like huh—huh—huh—huh—huh—huh—huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Interesting.

Aaron Alexander:  We’re not built to juggle these parts. We’re not and now we’re at this challenging point because we end up trusting the people that have the biggest polysyllabic words–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  On how to break down. The people that, whoa, smoking mirrors and blow us away with all of the—the anatomical structures that they break down, often times they move like crap. You know? And it’s almost like a compensation in order to—instead of being able to really embody that movement, we talk about it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right. Interesting.

Aaron Alexander:  And it’s—these are two different things.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And that’s funny because when I went to school over at UMass—Umass Amherst—I was involved in a study, I think my sophomore or junior year, I was teeing for an AMP course, and one of the studies that was a very similar study that you were just talking about, I went to the lab and I took this huge needle. I didn’t know what I was getting into. They gave me like $100 and I was like a poor college student, so I’m like, “Alright, sure.”

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  They take this huge needle and they get me into a bicep curl position, right? So they get me out like this and they take this needle and they just—just jammed it right into my bicep and I’m like, “Oh, my God, where the hell is that thing going?” It’s gonna hit bone. And they had me doing curls and they had the EMG going and they have me just think about curls–

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, so cool.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And they have me actually do the curls and then like whole isometric curls.

Aaron Alexander:  So that was you though.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It may not have been that study but I was involved in one of those studies and it was really interesting and they did it also to at this muscle right here, I forget exactly what this muscle is called, but it’s right in this area here of the hand–

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And the anatomical snuffbox here and they put a needle right in there as well and they have me do these movements as well.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It was very interesting and I just thought I would connect that story there with your research.

Aaron Alexander:  No, absolutely and there was a similar study with that where working with the same—the same thumb muscles where they had visualization of movement as opposed to actually practicing the movement and what they found was the same thing, by visualizing that movement, really communicating with your own musculo—your own muscular system, your own nervous system, but communicating with that, you’re exercising it. You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  It’s—it’s the recruitment of motor units that’s the important thing, right? It’s not so much just like hypertrophy or that we’re breaking—we’re breaking the muscle down. It’s—what’s the amplifier? The quality of the amplifier in your body. You know, and that’s something. This is like Central Governor and Tim Noakes. You know, it’s like getting into a world and using a small percentage of our movement potential, you know, that—that’s why if a ba—if a car falls on your baby, you know, the little old lady or the mother is “uuuhhh” He-man strength to be able to get the car off there.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  I’ve never seen that happen but that’s what they say. You know, and it’s like that’s what that is is being able to tap into your own potential, right? But we end up doing often times is just we just get wrapped up and like you know, I remember in high school I was just sore all the time. You know, I still go through phases this where like gymnastic sufferers, just like soreness—that’s just a part of life, you’re just always sore. Right? You should always be in kind of state of breakdown.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  I don’t agree with that. I think that—I think that we’re able to kind of train ourselves to the point that we’re not walking around like we have a stick in our butt the next day, you know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And that’s—that’s really the magic point is—is working with—with our movement potential.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, what’s our—what’s our movement patterns like? Not just how badly did I break the tissue down and how big is it gonna get tomorrow?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know? How much protein did I have?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  There’s a bigger—bigger picture.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, that’s cool. Very cool. I wanted to touch back on one thing with the breathing, because there’s a couple interesting things like obviously we know like certain pressing movements, you may wanna be breathing out through pursed lips as you’re pressing out in a bench press–

Aaron Alexander:  Sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  But I’ve done some studies or some seminars with Paul Chek–

Aaron Alexander:  Oh, cool.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And he found that overhead press breathing in actually help raise the—let me think—breathing help lower the diaphragm which help move the shoulder, the glenohumeral muscle better, so like during a military press, you’d wanna breathe in during the press movement, out during the down, but it was the opposite for a bench press. It was more breathing out on the—on the press, and then in on the—on the extension.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  What was your opinion on that?

Aaron Alexander:  I would say play with it. You know, so like–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  That’s—that’s the magic with breath or with your—or nutrition or anything in general.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  But I prefer the inverse of what I used to do which is “psshhh” that blow out like your saying.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And I personally literally never do bench press because it’s not necessary.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You do more like a push-up instead or-

Aaron Alexander:  Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  What do you?

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah. I do archer push-ups and yeah, yeah, there’s just all these names for things that it’s like we all—we love to attach names but movement, you know, it’s exploring your movement potential. So I’ll go really wide and do like the Jacqueline push-ups and then–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Maybe bring an arm to—up to 10°–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Then up 30° and then maybe a lizard crawl on the ground a little bit, then maybe I’ll come over and do like a side plank then maybe you know, a cartwheel.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, whatever just exploring that movement. You know, but something I do tinker with—I don’t tinker with bench press I–I don’t think it’s that necessary because our culture is so front and dominant, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  So—and it’s one of those things where it’s like you wanna exacerbate your pec manor—major and minor, and anterior delt and you know, all these musculature–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  That’s—its already over wound up, you know. So the—the necessity to spend your time, you know, investing in and contracting those tissues to a higher degree, I—I don’t think it’s necessary for me. You know, so I end up playing more with pull motions in general with—with the gym.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  But with that, I—with overhead presses, I find that to be incredibly valuable and with that, I—I’m on board with what—what Chek is saying of really—it’s all about the bracing, you know.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  So if you can engage and fill up that—that thoracic cavity–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  And then brace from there, it’s a much stronger position I found but I would say, explore, you know, have fun, play.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Very cool. And I think it’s really important like when you look at movements, like I look at, alright, is it a push? Is it a pull? Right? Is it flexion? Is it extension? Hip or glute?

Aaron Alexander:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Is—is there a rotation component? Is there a gait component or a sprint component? I mean, if you really break down all movements, you can almost get them down to those 7 prime movement patterns and then you can say, well, what’s your goal? If your goal maybe is more towards that [distorted audio] and you want more hypertrophy then you can manipulate things and maybe do more bench press. If you want a balance of the two, you can do more of the functional things that—that you and I are doing in our programs, so I like it. If you get the general philosophy, really you can just plug and play.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah. And you know, with any of those things, it’s like Ido Portale is really good with this—with—with–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  he’s—I kind of—I kind of borrowed the dogmatic movement phrase from him and I really like it. You know, it the—it’s the same thing with religion, same thing with nutrition, same thing with anything, you become consumed by this is the way that I’m supposed to move–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  And what I would recommend is with those dogmatic movement perspectives, I would say dig in, get all you can out of that and then jump out of the box. You know, like–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Like enter the box, enter the temple, enter the church, enter whatever it may be, take the lessons that you can, find the treasure, and then leave and take that into the world, you know? Let go of the rules. Oh, I did, you know, 5 pushes today. So I should do 5 pulls to balance that. It’s like no, no, no. Just feel it. You know? But sometimes we’re so kinda lost in what functional movement means in the first place. We need to have some type of grounded, codified movement practice but then from there, I think you’re really starting to cook once you start creating your own movement practice with that—those foundations of a good education on what it means to move well and move powerfully.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it. So on that note, why don’t you walk us through the typical day in the gym? So you get into the gym, how is structure and everything kinda come together to make a good workout for you?

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, alright, even more interesting I just built a home gym in my house. And—you know, so I have a gym membership because it’s a big old room. It’s got some other stuff, but I think it makes more sense for people to start to adjust the environment that they’re in for you know, 18 hours a day.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, and start thinking about—if everyone had a pull-up bar, I think that’s crucially important that you’re able to get–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Aaron Alexander:  That overhead flexion.  You can actually again change the architecture of that whole shoulder joint, the glenohumeral, that whole–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Girdle by hanging in that position. Most of us end up–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Love it.

Aaron Alexander:  Being tucked forward when we come into that winging scapula position.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  So if you can just come up and start to integrate mid-trap and rhomboids and all that and really feel that, that’s huge. You know, anybody, everybody should be hanging in their house multiple times a day.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Love it.

Aaron Alexander:  You’re not gonna hang in too much, I promise, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Love it.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, and then from—from there, I have a barbell, you know, with some—with some Olympic weights so I can deadlift that and I can snatch and clean and I think Olympic lifts are—are super important for full body integration.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Aaron Alexander:  If you’re gonna get into like one specific practice, but then, and then I have a slackline in my backyard, right? So then I’ll go–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, great.

Aaron Alexander:  I’ll go from deadlifting, you know, or snatching or whatever it is, to jumping directly on my slackline and then on the slackline I’ll come down, I’ll do lunges on it or I’ll like balance on my knees or just exploring different movements with that, right? And then from there, maybe go for a sprint. And then from there, maybe practice whatever dance moves you’ve got. If you play with Capoeira or ballet or whatever it may be, do some kicks, do some punches, do some cartwheels, or whatever, you can crawl on the ground. Right? And then getting more into your paradigm, get in the dirt and get—have a probiotic experience, right? You know, take your shoes off. Right? There—we can—we—there’s so many shotgun approaches to this health quandary that we’re missing out on because we’re too myopic and we focus on dumb bell, get it to the shoulder. It’s like–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Dude, you just spent 20 minutes reducing yourself down so that you move less effectively, right? You know, by—by getting, you know, take your shoes off, roll around the dirt a little bit, jump on a slackline, climb a tree, all these things, that this might be kind of out there for some people, they’re really effective at integrating your whole system and then not to mention, you’re looking out, you know, instead of being in a small room in a gym like you’re in the office all day, you’re looking out over a horizon. Ooh, that’s good.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Love it.

Aaron Alexander:  Ciliary muscles in your eyes, right? Looking at–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Aaron Alexander:  Your body as muscular–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.

Aaron Alexander:  Potential essentially.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I got your next niche for you by the way,

Aaron Alexander:  Please.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Shirtless dance workout. Seriously. I think you will hit it. It will be an explosive niche especially in the Paleo community.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, I just finished a burlesque show. My first burlesque show. It was a paid burlesque show. I’m officially a prof—a professional burlesque dancer, as of like 2 weeks ago.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Like I picture myself like speaking—I’m peeking through like your gym and you’re like doing the foxtrot without a partner and you’re just kinda like that. And you got the rose in your mouth and everything. Oh, boy.

Aaron Alexander:  I have 10% of all proceeds go directly to you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I love it. I love it. Very cool. Well, what else? Is there anything else here before we close up shop? Anything else you wanna let the listeners know about yourself? Or just anything take home-wise? And one thing I see, you’re doing a lot more with the bands, too, on your site.

Aaron Alexander:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And I’m just curious, how are you implementing the bands into your clinical practice and how would people use them to kinda get an overall benefit?

Aaron Alexander:  Well, bands are great because they’re decompressors. Alright, so when an example of something, I’m sure you’ve done or seen done, or something I do on a very regular basis is decompress the shoulder goint—joint, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  So that glenohumeral fossa there–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  The head of the humerus, sometimes it’s sitting on the edge of the precipice there, just waiting for the–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  To dislocate essentially, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  So coming down and I’ll apply as the person is lying down on their back, I’ll apply a little bit of pressure with my hand or my elbow or what have you right in that little pocket just medial of the–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  The head of humerus there, and then decompress the joint, bring that joint down into the table which allows the scapula to start sitting on the rib cage and really being flat on the—on the table or the ground wherever you’re at and then I’ll have the person go through a full range of motion, start raising their hand up in front of them, into shoulder flexion, start coming up into abduction or just roll into abduction and being like raising the hand up to the side, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  So just exploring–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Range of motion while we’re decompressing that joint, asking it, Ida Rolf put it—put the tissue where it belongs and call for movement. Right? So putting that tissue in its most functional position then move, and you’re re-wiring yourself. It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of, right? And so with—instead of being dependent, you know, spending—giving someone $150 to do that to your shoulder, you can just get a band, wrap that, you know, in a self-care kit thing that I have in the website.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Aaron Alexander:  I have a door anchor with it and so you can adjust it at your house, blah, blah, blah and you can have it so that the band is coming out about shoulder—shoulder level height and then putting that around the shoulder, stepping forward into a low lunge position, it’s pulling, decompressing the shoulder back, and then you move. Go explore full range of motion with your shoulder girdle in the most effective functional position.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s great.

Aaron Alexander:  You can do it by yourself and you know–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You can do it with the hip joint, too, right? So primarily you’d do it shoulder and hip primarily?

Aaron Alexander:  No, no, primarily do it everywhere. You know–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Everywhere.

Aaron Alexander:  So—so, yeah, shoulder. I use it with the neck. I use it with the shoulder. I use it with organ manipulation or visceral manipulation.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, cool.

Aaron Alexander:  Right? So I’ll bring the band around my belly and my rib cage and such and I’ll start to bend laterally and over to the side, and front, and back, and I’ll try and really start to disadhese all those connective tissues that are bound around my organs, right? Talking this is getting back to your department, organ function is–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Mental-emotional function.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, the vagus nerve majority of those pathways are not coming from the brain down to the belly. It’s going to the belly up to the brain. Right? So when you—if you have some dysfunction happening around the visceral tissue.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  I promise you’re gonna feel in every other aspect of your life, emotionally, physically, et cetera, et cetera. You know, so keeping those tissues lubricated, hydrated, moving–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  That is how we don’t hang on to, you know, S-H-I-T. You know–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  That’s—that’s the thing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I know. I get it. That makes a lot of sense. And again, you’re over at AlignTherapy.com. You got some really good YouTube videos. I see you always add, too. I think you have some videos with the bands, too, don’t you?

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And what’s your YouTube channel?

Aaron Alexander:  What is the YouTube channel, I think it’s–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Youtube.com/aligntherapy?

Aaron Alexander:  Align, yeah, it’s all—it’s all the links off the—off the website. The handle for that I think is—I think it’s Align Podcast maybe. I’m not sure. Just go to AlignTherapy.com and then handles for everything is all—it’s all linked off of there. Yeah, put it–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it. Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, put it–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  If you’re listening at home, lots of great YouTube videos. Also, your AlignTherapy podcast which is great, and then you got a lot of really cool stuff like you mentioned the self-care kit and you also I think have a self-care like autoresponder kind of series, right? With some—you have like a little e-book or e-video series?

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, yeah, exactly. And we’re presently working on a full A-Z, nuts to bolts, how to integrate functionality of movement into every aspect of your life. So getting into body like, you know, the value of body language and–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  How to integrate functionality, the how you—like I mentioned shop your care, it’s in care of your baby–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Aaron Alexander:  Getting in and out of your car. Every moment of your day is an opportunity and we need to leverage that. And I’m talking about like long levers, like that’s the longest level you got. I promise. You know, starting to integrate that mindfulness and awareness of your movement practice into all the things that you do and that will start to clear up so much that you may have not even realized and the big thing is with anything, stick with it. You might not notice it today, but I promise you, the clients that I see 6 months from now, one year from now, two years from now, it’s like, “Oh, my God.”  What—you—you’ve really changed.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Aaron Alexander:  What’s going—what’s going on? You know? And it’s like, what? Just you know, just keeping at it. It’s like, well, alright, keep—keep that up.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s right.

Aaron Alexander:  I don’t know what you’re doing now but it’s great.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, what’s that expression? If you give me a level long enough, you can move the world. Isn’t that Archimedes?

Aaron Alexander:  I think that was Archimedes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, it’s a great one.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah, that’s—that’s—so that’s the big thing. It’s really, you know, Viktor Frankl is—Man’s Search For Meaning—everyone needs to–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Aaron Alexander:  Read that immediately. It’s one of the most important books ever I think. And one of the—one of the quotes that he references in there quite a bit is Nietzsche’s if you have a why you can bear any how, I believe that’s how it goes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Aaron Alexander:  You know, and that’s the big thing. We’re aimlessly moving through our movement practices with no understanding of why.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Aaron Alexander:  If we can tap into that what the heck is the point of any of this, how do I become excited and fascinated and really truly immersed in my physical experience? If you can get into that, oh, man!

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right, it’s like the average person that comes in and they have back pain, I mean, do they really just wanna get their back pain, you know, addressed?

Aaron Alexander:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, maybe they really just wanna be able to go out in their backyard and play with their kids and they can’t do that and that’s the deeper–

Aaron Alexander:  That’s right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Meaning of why they’re there.

Aaron Alexander:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So you try to tap into that because that’s the purpose, that’s the—that’s the big why that allows the how to work essentially.

Aaron Alexander:  Bingo! That’s it, man.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s great. Awesome. Well, I’m gonna end with this here. You’re on a desert island, right? You only can do one exercise and you can only bring one herb or supplement, what exercise and what supplement or herb?

Aaron Alexander:  Mmm… Mmm… Mmm… Mmm… Mmm… One exercise, man, if I had to say one kind of—I would say like—I would say Capoeira, you know, but that’s a lot of exercise.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s a lot.

Aaron Alexander:  So one exercise, I would say, overhead squat. Overhead squat or hang. I think you gotta have both really.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Okay.

Aaron Alexander:  But so I would say overhead squat is a really important one because you just clear up so much of that integration from your hand down to your feet. You’re getting that thoracic extension which almost nobody has. You’re activating that hip hinge. You’re opening up the knees. You’re—you’re everything is getting this. It’s the most effective shotgun I think there is and then you gotta hang. You really got to. You gotta hang. You gotta climb trees. You gotta pull around different ranges of motion.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Lots.

Aaron Alexander:  The one thing that I would bring, man, right now as we’re talking, I’m drinking some Pu-erh tea, which I really like. Last I had a different–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Pu-erh tea.

Aaron Alexander:  since the last time. Yeah. Yeah, Pu-erh tea is really nice, man. And so there’s—there’s some facts or whatever in relation to it, it’s like makes your fat more bioavailable and helps with assimilation of adipose tissue and blah, blah, blah, that’s how I drink. I drink it because it makes you feel really good. That’s–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I love it.

Aaron Alexander:  So right now, I’m loving Pu-erh. So I would say overhead squat and Pu-erh. I’ll be good.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Pu-erh tea and overhead squats. Awesome. I’m gonna do some hangs right after this podcast in tribute to you.

Aaron Alexander:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And I may even do it with like an extra button undone on my shirt. Oh, what the hell, I may just take my shirt off altogether, just in tribute to you Aaron, alright? Awesome, man. I appreciate your—your perspective that’s kinda extrameta if you will, like looking at it from a—from a deeper perspective. I mean, you take exercise and movement and you really allow a different, deeper perspective, so I appreciate that.

Aaron Alexander:  And I appreciate you appreciating it, man. I appreciate what you’re doing as well, man. So it’s always great to get to chat with you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Awesome, man. Thanks a lot. You have a good one.

Aaron Alexander:  Alright, see you, brother.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Thanks, bye.

 


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